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Keith Jarrett: America's #1 Keyboard Star

Colman Andrews, Phonograph Record, August 1976

KEITH JARRETT is the first genuine keyboard star of the seventies. Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, and Chick Corea are stars of a sort, and can certainly be astonishing players, but they are stars today largely because they are or were the leaders of stellar groups. Jarrett is a star as a pianist, whether he's working with a jazz quartet, a symphony orchestra, or nothing but an acoustic piano. Bayete Todd Cochran and Dan Pullen, who can certainly match and maybe exceed Jarrett technically, have released very few albums. Jarrett's output is formidable, both as a leader and a sideman: He has probably been on literally dozens of albums in the past six or eight years. Admirable, often brilliant veterans of the sixties, like McCoy Tyner, Andrew Hill, Mal Waldron, Paul Bley, Dollar Brand, Jaki Byard, and Roland Hanna — to name a few at random — have simply not earned much popular acclaim, despite a welcome resurgence in their recording activity.

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