48 years ago today, at 11.30pm, Keith Jarrett took the stage at a German concert hall and, on an indifferent rehearsal piano, improvised one hour of magic which has become known as The Koln Concert. In recent years, each 24th January, pianist Dorian Ford has used a transcription of Jarrett’s improvisation to recreate the piece for friends. This year, however, Dorian took it to another level. After months of learning the main elements of the concert, through repeated listening to the recording rather than reading a transcription, he performed it tonight with a hybrid of memory and his own improvisation. The result was overwhelming. If you know the piece, and maybe fear any dilution of its pristine alchemy, you will be surprised – and, I would say, delighted – by Dorian’s ability to make it feel freshly minted. It helps that he is a remarkable improviser and jazz pianist. We urged him to perform this publicly.
“I took no pictures of Dorian playing – that would be dangerous while he is channelling Keith Jarrett.
Matthew Crampton following performance on 24th January 2023