Monday, August 08, 2011

Keith Jarrett's "Danny Boy" - A Poignant Sense of Loss from a Giving Man

Ecstasy seems to be Jarrett’s identity: not only “follow your bliss” but “here, have a taste of mine!”

He’s one of the greatest storytellers we have!

As an actor I know a little about the subject of leading an audience through a tale of … mystery … and adventure … and … well … yes LOVE.

Is there a more sacred love song in the world than Danny Boy?

My adopted son, Floyd, just lost one of his sons today in a Toronto shooting.

Black on black vengeance.

To me the piercing truth of Jarrett’s rendering of Danny Boy has the agonies of profound loss in them, losses like that of my son.

Within all that pain, the beauty of existence is never more intense. The half-note interval tensions that drift … yes, mysteriously appear and disappear in his harmonies.

Speaking of “never more” … the “nevermore” of life and its fragility … and knowing how a great artist can literally force us to realize just how exquisite is God’s gift to us.Life!

How brief.

How divinely painful.

Bill Evans, one of the most influential jazz pianist of our time, performs Danny Boy in a much higher register … and … as lovely as his version may be … it carries none of the weight of Jarrett’s.


The stated key, at the very opening, tells us how profoundly serious Keith Jarrett is about Life in general.

The very last chorus of Jarrett’s Danny Boy leads to a brief quintessence of devastating harmonies, tensions that are at once divinely painful yet so deliriously inevitable. You know that this entire call to Danny Boy strikes at the very heart of our impermanence.

It ends with an allusion to the sacred plagal cadence, that all familiar ending to a choir hymn. Only an allusion, however.
Michael Moriarty, Actor, Jazz Musician, Journalist,Composer and Defender of the Unborn.

Today, Leo Alumni, Veterans of America's Wars, a living Medal of Honor recipient, and citizens will re-dedicate the gravesite of Cpl. John Fardy, USMC, a Leo graduate and Medal of Honor hero.

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