Excellent Things #11

Nicolas Jaar, Keith Jarrett, & Nils Frahm

Two musical heroes in one… Here’s Nicolas Jaar, describing what’s so special to him about Keith Jarrett’s music.

Jaar describes it as "music that's as close to language as possible." Jarrett is so perfectly good at piano, that he can play it like he speaks, immediately, and with the precise intent he conjures up between each millisecond.

The track Jaar specifically mentions in the video is ‘Part 3’ from Jarrett’s ‘Carnegie Hall Concert’. Hopefully, that song alone makes this email worth your time.

If you are new to either artist, start with The Koln Concert for Jarrett, and the Essential Mix for Jaar.

In the video, Jaar also mentions Ethiopian composer Mulatu Astatke, and the distinctive pentatonic (5-note) scales that underpins a lot of Ethiopian music.

I got turned onto this golden, Ethiopian musical seam via one of my favourite discovery methods - The Quietus’ ‘Baker’s Dozen’, where artists talk about the albums that mean the most to them.

In this instance, it was Nils Frahm recommending ‘Ethiopiques Vol. 21’ which featured Ethiopian nun Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou.

We had Nils Frahm’s ‘Circling’ playing as our firstborn son came into the world. (If you are new to Nils by the way, start with Screws.)

That was almost four years ago. Now he’s a little boy that does drawings of us going walking together.

I recently rediscovered a note I’d written to him before he was born. He didn’t avoid my sweet tooth, but he turned out just fine.

Whatever happens, it’s going to be OK.

I want you to know your Mum loves you.

I want you to know that I love you.

I want you to know you deserve to be loved.