Concert recording April 30, 2001
Metropolitan Festival Hall, Tokyo
"Stella By Starlight" sound-check recording
April 24, 2001, Orchard Hall, Tokyo
Edited and mastered at Rainbow Studio, Oslo
Yesterdays is the third title ECM has released by Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, and Jack DeJohnette (dubbed "the standards trio"). The first two - The Out-of-Towners released in 2004 and My Foolish Heart issued in 2007 - were actually recorded later than this live date recorded in Tokyo in April of 2001. This also marks a first in the pianist's career: the George Gershwin tune "You Took Advantage of Me" appeared on My Foolish Heart in a very different arrangement, making this the first time Jarrett has ever employed a single track on two consecutive albums. On My Foolish Heart Jarrett used a full-on ragtime intro to the tune. Here, he employs a denser harmonic construction based on its changes and melodic frame. When the band enters, the pop and swing in the tune become pronounced, standing in the same universe as ragtime (which is more than likely the reason Jarrett employed it before) but also much more sophisticated and harmonically complex. Other standouts on this fine set include the bop burners "Scrapple from the Apple" and "Shaw'nuff," the glorious ballads "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and "You've Changed," and a deeply moving rendition of "Stella by Starlight." What is most remarkable about this band is its sense of balance between eloquence, interplay, improvisational communication, and swing. This group is not only a solid link to the tradition Jarrett, Peacock, and DeJohnette all came up with, but it is a solid teaching pointer as to how to employ standards for the music in the future.
All Music Guide
Jerome Kern's "Yesterdays" speaks of 'Days I knew as happy sweet/ Sequestered days/ Olden days/Golden days...'". 2001, clearly, was a golden year for the Jarrett/Peacock/ DeJohnette trio, rich in exceptional performances; "Yesterdays" is the fourth album culled from their 2001 touring. In the chronology it belongs alongside "Always Let Me Go", also recorded in Tokyo in April of that year, and it balances that album's exploratory earnestness with a light and often playful touch that also brings forth music of great creativity - this time focussed and marshalled inside the 'standards' tradition. As Jarrett said to the Los Angeles Times recently, "We know how musical these songs are... Jazz musicians don't have to always break down doors: there's music inside the rooms too."
This particular set's emphasis on bebop embraces Charlie Parker's "Scrapple from the Apple", "Shaw'nuff" by Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, Horace Silver's "Strollin'", and a piece often associated with Dexter Gordon, "You've Changed". The show tune "You Took Advantage Of Me", which in a more rigorously 'ragtime' version would be a highlight of the Montreux performance issued as "My Foolish Heart", is also heard here, and there are beautiful ballad interpretations including two Jerome Kern songs, "Yesterdays" and "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes", as well as Harold Arlen's mid-tempo "A Sleepin' Bee"(which Gary Peacock memorably played with Bill Evans in 1964).
Tracks one through eight were recorded at Tokyo's Metropolitan Hall. The album concludes with a rare ECM bonus track - an 'audio verite' account of a piece taped at a soundcheck a week earlier, at Orchard Hall. In this context, too, with no audience present, the trio players give their hearts, energies and full attention to the music.
The release of "Yesterdays" follows the 25th anniversary of the trio in 2008, a celebration marked by intensified touring activity, much press attention, and a number of historical releases from ECM - two double DVDs ("Standards I/II" and "Live In Japan") as well as the widely-acclaimed three CD box "Setting Standards", which documented the birth of the Standards project in the now-legendary New York recordings of 1983. Additionally, three of Jarrett's titles - "Standards Live", "Bye Bye Blackbird" and the solo "Facing You" - were reissued in ECM's popular 'Touchstones' series. This banner year for Jarrett was capped by his induction into Down Beat's Hall of Fame in December.
The work with the trio goes on, of course. As Keith Jarrett says, "If you meet the perfect other two players for your needs in a musical jazz situation, why would you force yourself to go around the corner and find other people to play with?"
"Yesterdays" is issued simultaneously on CD and vinyl (180 gram pressing): it's the first new ECM vinyl release from ECM in 15 years.