Way back around 1978 saxophonist Barbara Thompson was the first guest of the newly formed Birmingham Jazz Society, an institution that is still going strong today. I was at that first gig and it was one of the first jazz gigs I ever attended. The group was ‘Paraphernalia’ and it is a testament to the quality of the music that I still remember the event all these years on. Thompson’s music has weaved itself in and around my own journey into jazz.
Given the fact that the legendary pianist, composer and improviser, Keith Jarrett, refuses steadfastly to talk at any significant length about his music, stating that ‘words’ are effectively useless and that any words used are completely superfluous, it does seem a touch ironic that I find myself writing these words you now read, about words that have been written in a book about the life of Jarrett and his music. I can relate to the sentiment behind Jarrett’s opinion, but one only has to have a passing interest to understand why it is so intriguing to discover more about the man, his life and his music.