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June 19 , 2014

Incoming: Early reactions to Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden’s Last Dance (ECM 2399):

‘Last Dance’ is by no means a dolorous album, resounding as it does with empathy and melodic accord. There isn’t a solo as outright stunning as Mr. Jarrett’s on ‘Body and Soul’ from ‘Jasmine’, but there may be more brilliant flourishes of dialogue, starting with the entirety of the opening track, ‘My Old Flame’. And the piano improvisation on Thelonious Monk’s ‘Round Midnight’ is as bracing and unimprovable as a glass of ice water: each phrase pointing toward the next, without premeditation.
For his part, Mr. Haden could be giving a seminar: in placing the beat and establishing the root, laying a foundation that feels definitive but open-ended. His actions here are inextricable from those of his partner, about whom the exact same could be said.
Nate Chinen, The New York Times

After listening to this album a few times, letting it wash over you, play it again and play close attention to Haden's bass lines—not so much his solos, but what he does while Jarrett's playing too. Ornette Coleman once said of Haden that he "plays the music, not the background"—a classically cryptic Ornette-ism, until you listen, and you realize it's spot on: this is exactly what makes Haden special. […] Both musicians are masters at listening. This is an album that not only demands close listening, it's what the album's about.
Fred Kaplan, Stereophile

It's just as good as Jasmine, and hopefully not a Last Dance for this partnership.
John Fordham, The Guardian

Die Größe der Melodien aus dem American Songbook kommt in den Dialogen zu voller Blüte.
Matthias Inhoffen, Audio

A wonderful album. A small masterpiece, in fact.
Richard Williams, The Blue Moment

Gelassen tippen Jarret und Haden die Themen an: zwei sensible Melodiker, die sich zuhören und blindlings verstehen. Hier muss keiner zeigen, wie virtuos er sein Instrument beherrscht. Sttdessen genießen die Herren ihre Seelenverwandschaft. Groß!
Werner Stiefele, Stereoplay

An intimate and touching pas de deux, not of lovers but of the closest kind of musical partners. If it’s their last dance, it’s a glorious one.
Peter Hum, Ottawa Citzen

The same strengths that made ‘Jasmine’ such a wonderful—and welcome—diversion from Jarrett's solo and trio releases remain definitive on ‘Last Dance’. Haden's unerring ability to find the absolutely perfect note—played with equally impeccable tone—whether it's in the spare yet ambling swing of his support for Jarrett's solo on the mid-tempo ‘Everything Happens to Me’ or his own more intrinsically lyrical feature later in the same song, there's never a note wasted or a note out of place. As for Jarrett, while his career has been predicated on both virtuosity and an ability to spontaneously pull music from the ether, and as consistently superb as his solo and Standards Trio work has been over the past three decades, here in this context, he's never sounded so relaxed, so unfettered in a way that's different from his inimitable freedom in live performance.
John Kelman, All About Jazz