Many jazz musicians perform standards. These songs consist mostly of show tunes and the American song book, and became part of the jazz repertoire. At some point in the 1980s I was thinking that this tradition is at its last legs because I did not hear any new performances of standards that sparked new life into these songs. And then came this album and changed my mind completely. More than anything it made me realize that there are no bad songs necessarily, there are bad performances. At the time of this writing, the Keith Jarrett Trio released numerous standards, some of them I never really liked. But I do like almost all the trio’s interpretations to these standards. Jarrett has a unique ability to play these tunes in such a lyrical way that you find yourself hearing these familiar melodies anew. The interplay between Jarrett, Peacock and DeJohnette is magical, and more than anything I love how they sometimes take off at the end of the standard and go places. These are the best moments for me in these performances, where they use the end of the standard as a starting point to something completely different and somehow still related.
God Bless the Child from the first standards album is great example of breathing a new life to an often-played standard. The Billie Holiday staple tune gets a cool acoustic jazz rock feel with great solos by all members of the trio. 12 minutes into the performance you can hear how the trio moves together from the formal song to a groove-oriented improvisation until that last drum beat.