The artist suffered two strokes, in 2018, that left his left side paralyzed. “I don’t feel like a pianist right now,” he told the New York Times.
Keith Jarrett, one of the greatest pianists in the history of jazz, announced that he will hardly play in public again after having suffered two strokes, the first in late February 2018 and the second in May of that same year. which left him partially paralyzed on his left side.
Speaking to The New York Times, the artist revealed: “I don’t know what my future is supposed to be. I don’t feel like a pianist right now. That’s all I can say about it. My left side is still partially paralyzed. I can try walking with a cane, but (my rehab) took a long time; more than a year and I am not leaving my house at all”.
Jarrett, 75, a true instrument virtuoso, has one of the most impressive artistic careers in jazz with forays into classical music, such as his well-remembered version of the Golberg variations (1989) With 97 albums released, including his famous Cologne Concert (1975), created an infallible pianist legend, with almost superhuman performances, especially in his solo piano performances.
Indeed, one of his last performances was on February 15, 2017, at Carnegie Hall, from New York, where he said goodbye to the audience – according to the chronicles – with his eyes damp with emotion. The musician already had a concert scheduled on the same stage for March 2018, whose suspension his ECM label justified by appealing to “health problems.”
Now Jarrett decided to make his situation known: “Initially, I did not realize the gravity of what had happened to me. It definitely escaped me, and I only entered the hospital when the symptoms added up. ” After an improvement that led to his discharge and shelter in his New Jersey home, he had a second spill, apparently more serious than the first and for which he had to re-enter.
In July 2018 he was discharged and, according to what he told the New York newspaper, he made sporadic use of the piano, playing some right-handed counterpoint (the side that was almost normal, after the two spills). “I was trying to pretend I was Bach with one hand, but it was really just to touch something, “he admitted. Perhaps the most painful thing was when he wanted to play some very familiar bebop tunes, he discovered that he had forgotten them.
Journalist Nat Chinen revealed that Jarrett’s voice sounds softer than other times on the phone and that in the talk, which lasted almost an hour, He was lucid and understandable except for a few lapses in which his memory failed. After some awkward revelation, the pianist underlined it with a soft laugh, almost a form of resigned acceptance.
Jarrett, who was raised in the Christian Science faith, a religious and spiritual belief system that according to its followers can cure diseases, and that it also promotes avoiding medical treatments, it takes it with a certain distance. “As a Christian scientist you would expect me to say that, and maybe I was doing it while I was in the hospital. However, I don’t know if I succeeded, because here I am ”.
The artist explained the sensation of listening to two-handed piano music. “I feel physically frustrated. If I listen to Schubert or something softly touched, for me it is enough because I know that I will not be able to do that. There is no expectation that I will recover to that point. The most I can hope for is get my left hand back enough to hold a cup. So it’s no longer about shooting the pianist, because they already shot meha ha ha, ”he said, with a small dose of humor.
Jarrett had already overcome another hurdle that seemed to call him permanent ostracism in the 1990s, when suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome from which he emerged with a beautiful solo piano work, entitled The Melodý At Night With You (1999), and then re-assembled his wonderful trio with the recently deceased Gary Peacock on double bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums, with whom he recorded the album After the Fall, which his ECM label only released in March 2018, almost 20 years later, almost coinciding with his first stroke.
Now, ECM will launch its double solo piano album on October 30 Budapest Concert, recorded in 2016, in the Bela Bartok room, with It’s A Lonesome Old Town Y Answer Me as encores.