I started researching Keith Jarrett’s music while a PhD student at the University of Southampton. That led to my 2001 thesis, and subsequently to a number of publications, notably this book for Oxford University Press, published in January 2013. The ‘blurb’ on the book describes it like this:
The book was a strange project, in the sense that to start with I never considered writing about the Koln Concert. Why? Well, sometimes when a record reaches a certain level of fame and ubiquity, musicologists get a little bit wary of it. The Koln Concert means an awful lot to very many people, as I knew when I started, but that became clearer as I went on. As it turned out, that became one of the themes of the book which I hadn’t expected. What happens when a record attains a popularity such that it gets used by its fans in ways which, in this case, contradict quite starkly what the artist intended. For all of Jarrett’s keenness on the importance of the ‘process’ of improvisation, and the use of recording as a way of documenting that process, the way listeners have used this record is really something quite different altogether.
So far I’ve had some positive emails from readers of the book, which is always nice. There are a couple of short reviews out there, here at the London Jazz News blog, and here at The Do-Minor Effect. There’s also a recent review in Jazz Journal, and one in the New York City Jazz Record. I’ve written a post here about those pieces, and some of the interesting issues they raise.