Standards (Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette) (1985)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 18-Nov-2002

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Menu Animation & Audio
Quiz-Quiz
Music Video-Delaunay's Dilemma
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 1985
Running Time 104:51 (Case: 110)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Kaname Kawachi
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Keith Jarrett
Gary Peacock
Jack DeJohnette
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $34.95 Music Various


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, credits over end of concert

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Keith Jarrett has been called one of the most gifted pianists of the last few decades, and also one of the most idiosyncratic. Born in 1945 in Allentown, PA, USA, his perfect pitch and talent for music were recognised early and he started taking music lessons at the age of three and began composing music almost immediately. He played his first full length concert at the age of six. Although most people know him as a jazz pianist - working with musicians such as Art Blakely, Miles Davis, and Gary Burton before launching a very successful solo career - he is classically trained and in the 1980s released a number of classical albums as well as performed in classical recitals. He is probably most well known for his solo piano improvisations such as The Köln Concert.

    In the 1980s, Keith Jarrett started a trio consisting of himself, bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette. The aim was to record an album of "standards" i.e. well-known jazz tunes. That album, entitled "Standards Vol. 1" became so popular that many more albums were produced and concerts given. This DVD contains a recording of one such concert - held in Japan at the Koseinekin Hall in Tokyo on 15 February 1985.

    The concert is over one and a half hours long yet contains less than 10 songs. If you know any of these songs well you will be hard pressed to recognise them - Keith and his fellow musicians use the tune as a starting point for extended improvisations so each song can last over ten minutes. If you are a fan of Keith and the trio (like I am), you will be transported to a magical place for the duration of the concert.

    Keith Jarrett's piano style is very distinctive and the very first few bars of the first song in the concert are very typical of his playing - scintillating notes played fluidly with crystal clear clarity on top of a very flexible and yet precise rhythmic base. Every note seems to sing from the very depths of his soul and yet is integrated into a greater whole. The other two musicians support Keith very well but there is no question who the prima donna is.

    I have never seen Keith perform live before. I knew he was an eccentric performer, but still I was not quite prepared for what I saw. Keith is a very restless and dynamic pianist. He starts off with a Glenn Gould-like hunch over the keys and suppressed vocalizations but soon starts tapping his sneakers and getting off his chair and even dancing whilst playing! Some of the gyrations look like they might offend old ladies!

    My favourite piece in the concert is Prism which features a hauntingly beautiful middle segment consisting of a repeated harmonic phrase reminiscent of minimalist compositions, but just about every song here is a winner. All-in-all, this is a must-have if you are a fan of Keith Jarrett and his standards trio.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Track Listing

1. I Wish I Knew
2. If I Should Lose You
3. Late Lament
4. Rider
5. It's Easy To Remember
6. So Tender
7. Prism
8. Stella By Starlight
9. God Bless The child

Transfer Quality

Video

    As this concert was originally recorded on video it is presented in a full frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    Given that the concert was recorded in 1985, I was not expecting a good transfer, but I was pleasantly surprised with what we did get. I suspect that some restoration work has been done because the video source seems to be in pristine quality.

    There is very little evidence of film or video artefacts. Detail levels are okay although the transfer is slightly on the soft side. Colour saturation is very good considering the age of the source.

    Compression artefacts are very few, limited to very slight macro-blocking and pixelization in defocused backgrounds, plus posterization (around 26:31-26:45 in the close-up of the cymbals).

     There is slight break-up of the video stream resulting in blocks of colour all over the screen at around 95:30. This appears to be a mastering error as the disc surface looks reasonably clean and the error is replicated on several DVD players that I tried. I also requested a second copy of this disc and the error was replicated in exactly the same way on the second copy.

    There are no subtitle tracks.

    This is a single sided single layered disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is only one audio track on this disc: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s). I would have preferred Linear PCM or a higher bitrate, but the audio track sounds quite decent even though it is mastered at a very low level (around 5-6dB lower than normal).

     The audio track is probably around MP3 quality rather than CD-quality. Even though all the notes are there, I can't help feeling that everything sounded ever-so-slightly on the dull side. A bit more dynamic range would be nice, and also there is not much extreme low frequency or high frequency content in the audio track.

    Unfortunately, there are two rather loud "clicks" in rapid succession around 95:34 which may be related to the video break-up around 95:30 mentioned earlier.

    There is no dialogue in the concert, not even stage talk in between songs. However, Keith utters quite a lot of vocalizations accompanying his piano playing, which I find rather annoying in quite a few of the songs. I don't really mind the grunts and the yells but the nasal humming is rather distracting.

    I did not notice any audio synchronization issues with the disc.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are no real extras apart from a mini-quiz and a bonus music video.

Menu

    The menu is full frame but is animated and includes background audio.

Music Video - Quiz (5:01)

    This is a set of three multiple-choice questions about Keith Jarrett and the other musicians in the trio. If you answer them correctly, you are rewarded with a bonus music video consisting of a "deleted song" from the concert footage (Delaunay's Dilemma), presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

    On the negative side, the questions are quite difficult to answer correctly. On the positive side, you do get infinite retrys, so eventually you will be able to answer all of them correctly simply through a process of elimination.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc (probably - unconfirmed) misses out on;

    My vote will go for the R1 release since it is a Linear PCM audio track. For material like this, Dolby Digital just isn't good enough!

Summary

    Standards is a concert (recorded in Tokyo in 1985) of the Keith Jarrett trio (consisting of Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette) playing improvisations on a number of well-known (and not-so-well-known) jazz tunes. This is a must-have for any jazz connoisseur, and Keith Jarrett fans in particular.

    The full frame video transfer is surprisingly good given the age of the material.

    The audio transfer quality (Dolby Digital 2.0) is acceptable although a Linear PCM track would have been better.

    Extras are limited to a mini-quiz and a bonus music video.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Wednesday, January 29, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDCustom HTPC (Asus A7N266-VM, Athlon XP 1800+, 512MB, Pioneer DVD-103S, WinXP, PowerDVD 4.0 XP), using RGB output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and rears: B&W CDM7NT; centre: B&W CDMCNT; subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE