‘Last Dance’, depending on the time you decided to sit down and listen to this album, it was either a joyous occasion to hear two great jazz masters put their heart and soul into rejuvenating old jazz standards and bringing them back to life. Or it was an album of mourning when you realise that this was Charlie Haden’s last recording before his untimely death, July 11, 2014.
After almost three decades apart Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden find themselves reunited again in Keith Jarrett’s home recording studio for one last time. Even though Jarrett and Haden had been apart for so long the chemistry between them had not disappeared, the musical conversations and playfulness is strong as ever. A casual listen to this album and it sounds not much more then some jazzy lounge music made for people to have as background sound while they sip on their cocktails. But if you could just take the time and put on some headphones and stop what you are doing for thirty minutes and really listen to Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden, you will hear the true art that these men are creating. Keith Jarrett’s excellent timing and his use of space within the music to make what he’s not playing just as important as the notes he does play adds to the beauty of the whole album. He makes the listener really have to focus on the music in order to fully appreciate what is going on.
Charlie Haden adds to the beauty of the music as well with his pure and warm bass tone and with his impeccable ability to swing to help aid to the melodies and solos that Keith Jarrett plays. On Haden’s own solos, he plays with convection, never letting a note go to waste or feel out of place. Through out the album you get a sense that Jarrett and Haden might have telepathic abilities, or they are just really good at listening to each other. Each player knowing what to play at a moments notice to help create the musical dialog and push it along. It is sad to know that this album was truly Charlie Hadens last dance, but a great last dance it was. And for the fans of Haden, I am sure that they are saddened by the news but also satisfied by the fact that he had left this earth on a very high note. And while Jarrett, despite a run in with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that nearly ended his career in the ‘90s, he seems to be healthy , and has plenty of performances left in him. Last Dance will stand as Jarrett’s and Haden’s most beautiful and intimate recordings between two old friends, despite the 30 years apart in their partnership they came back together and played as if they have never been apart.