Jarrett and Haden stretch out without feeling long-winded. They take their time through a setlist that feels driven by an open-ended feeling of ‘Well, how about…?’ The album is poignant and romantic, drifting along in no particular rush […] There are some recording line-ups that are simply impossible to imagine and then there are records like this. Anyone with a cursory familiarity with these two older elder statesmen will not be surprised by these performances, but they will be completely satisfied.
Sean J. O’Connell. Downbeat
This thoughtful and expansive exploration of the jazz songbook by a pair of masters draws from the same intimate sessions that produced the lovely ‘Jasmine’ duets from 2010 […] A rich, enchanting listen.
Chris Barton, L.A. Times
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 demonstrates his usual 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
Jarrett's timing and sense of space, plus Haden's spontaneous countermelodies, continue to provide low-lit delights. […] for all their warm glow, this duo constantly invests them with strength and urgency. It's just as good as Jasmine, and hopefully not a Last Dance for this partnership.
John Fordham, The Guardian
‘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
The two are experts at crafting ballads, bringing out all the inherently poignant colors and melancholy textures of ‘Everything Happens To Me’ and Cole Porter’s ‘Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye’. Both, like many other performances on the disc, are keepers, artfully illuminating well-trod standards.
Philip Booth, Jazz 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
Die Größe der Melodien aus dem American Songbook kommt in den Dialogen zu voller Blüte.
Matthias Inhoffen, Audio
The emphasis on this wonderful music is strongly on the lyrical content of the material and the shared empathy between Jarrett and Haden. The duo are totally at the service of the music and Kurt Weill’s ‘My Ship’ has rarely sounded better than here, whilst Richard Rodger’s and Oscar Hammerstein’s ‘It Might As Well Be Spring’ is just about a perfect one as one could wish for, and is totally absorbing from start to finish. If you already have ‘Jasmine’ in your collection, then you will wish to add this; if you are yet to acquire either of these discs, then be prepared to want both.
Nick Lea, Jazz Views
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
Charlie Haden’s final recording, ‘Last Dance,’ is a gem. His work with pianist Keith Jarrett goes back for more than 40 years. This is their 19th recording together; and it is a true work of art. What a lovely way to finish a distinguished career. The song selections on this project include well-known jazz classics and some love songs. The duo treats the listener to an hour of exceptional music by two jazz masters. […]. These are two old friends having a musical conversation and really listening, carefully, to each other. As Haden stated, ‘Keith really listens, and I listen.’ Both have ‘big ears.’ […]This last release by Mr. Haden is, by all standards, a five star winner.
Paul Pearce, Bass World Magazine
Their latest duet album draws on the standard repertoire and has the warmth and focus of two close friends reminiscing late in life. Haden, unhurried, harmonically precise and sounding gorgeous, is the perfect foil for Jarrett’s fluency and mass of detail.
Mike Hobart, Financial Times
‘Last Dance’ is many intended things – an album of understated but extraordinary beauty; a subtle and soulful conversation by two jazz titans, Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden, whose friendship spans nearly a half-century; and a loving representation of a jazz standard’s seemingly limitless interpretative possibilities […] a reflection of the musical camaraderie that began in the 1960s and hit its first pinnacle with several 1970s collaborations for the European ECM label. The communication between the two players on the new album is so heightened and exact that you can almost picture them playing this music in your living room […] It all makes for the most touching of parting shots: the kind that was never intended to be one.
Walter Tunis, Lexington Herald Leader
A glowingly lyrical collection of warm burning coals in the fireplace of ballads […] Jarrett is impressively subdued and judicious here, as he is thoughtful on every note – not a glib touch on the session. A keeper!
George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly
Dies ist Musik von jener Art, die uns nicht bestürzt, verblüfft oder überwältigt. Sie bewegt und verzaubert und wird auf nachhaltige Weise Teil unserer Erinnerung. Keith Jarrett, der in seinen Konzerten oft als einer auftritt, der sich das Publikum unterwirft, hat eine ganz andere, eine intime, ja demütige Seite. Wenn er sich in seinem kleinen eigenen Studio mit seinem alten Partner, dem Bassisten Charlie Haden, zu Zwiegesprächen über das trifft, was er auch schon ‚unsere alte Stammessprache‘ genannt hat, die Songs aus dem ‚Great American Songbook‘, ist es, als ob zwei Freunde zusammen Lieder aus fernen Jugendzeiten summten. […] Nach langer Zeit trafen sich die beiden Wahlverwandten (beide hatten sich in ihren Gruppen intensiv mit dem kollektiven Unbewussten des amerikanischen populären Songs beschäftigt) 2007 anlässlich eines Dok-Films über Haden wieder und erinnerten sich, ohne lange Proben, ihrer gemeinsamen Vergangenheit. […] Eine erste Auswahl der fast zufällig dokumentierten privaten Begegnung von 2007 veröffentlichte ECM unter dem Titel ‚Jasmine‘. Diese zweite ist nicht weniger berührend. Zu schön, um nicht wahr zu sein.
Peter Rüedi, Die Weltwoche
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
‘Last Dance’ does indeed dance, not least on Bud Powell’s intricate, but nimbly executed ‘Dance of The Infidels’, but mostly it’s a musical conversation between two old friends who follow the twin philosophies that if you’re going to interpret songs instrumentally, you still need to know the words, and that playing together means listening to each other. Haden is both foundation and foil for Jarrett’s brilliant lyricism as they find inspiration in the Great American Songbook, meaning every note of ‘My Old Flame’ and the elegiac ‘Goodbye.’
Rob Adams, Sunday Herald
The most remarkable accomplishment is how they take nine well-known songs – pieces that could easily be called warhorses – and present them with great originality. […] This album is a must.
Bob Karlovits, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
To our delight, ‘Last Dance’ brings two of the world’s finest musicians together again, one a restless perfectionist and the other finding happiness by exploring musical genres of all types. The album reveals both at their best, reveling in the beauty of song and warmth shared between longtime friends.
Nick Bewsey, Icon Magazine
So, wie vor allem Jarrett manche der alten Nummern hier angeht, hat man sie jedoch noch nie zuvor gehört. Mit seinen liebevollen, fremdartig vertraut klingenden Überarbeitungen von ‚Round Midnight‘ und ‚Every Time We Say Goodbye‘ legt der Pianist geradezu perfekte Beispiele vor, wie man Altbekanntes komplett neu denken kann, ohne es mutwillig zerstören zu müssen.
Josef Engels, Die Welt
‘Jasmine’ is now followed with another supremely beautiful CD which includes a lovely selection of ballads like ‘My Ship’ and ‘Everything happens to me’, jazz standards by Monk and Bud Powell and some alternate takes including a haunting ‘Goodbye’.
Peter Bevan, Northern Echo