Keith Jarrett/Charlie Haden
Jasmine (ECM)

By Martin Z. Kasdan, Jr.

Hushed whispers, delicacy, warm interaction. No, that's not a movie scene, it's the new release from pianist Keith Jarrett and bassist Charlie Haden. "The most beautiful sound next to silence" has been ECM's motto since its earliest days, and this album lives up to the premise. Both artists have been creative mainstays on the jazz scene since the late 1950s (Haden) and the mid 1960s (Jarrett). Haden worked with Jarrett's "American Quartet" in the 1970s, but this is the first time since then that they have collaborated. For just over an hour, they weave their magic on such classics as "For All We Know" and "Don't Ever Leave Me." The mid-tempo "No Moon at All" sounds breakneck in comparison with the other songs. When Haden solos on "Where Can I Go Without You," his playing is an extension of the melody and feeling of the song, not just virtuosity for its own sake. "Don't Ever Leave Me" closes the album with peaceful tranquility. As Jarrett says in his liner notes, "These are great love songs played by players who are trying, mostly, to keep the message intact." He need not have qualified the statement, the message in these beautiful tunes remains intact.