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July 19 , 2012

Incoming: First international reactions to Keith Jarrett’s „Sleeper“

This enthralling double album is a previously unreleased concert set from Tokyo in 1979 and features Keith Jarrett’s ‘European quartet’ of Jan Garbarek on saxes and flute, fellow Norwegian Jon Christensen on drums and Swedish bassist Palle Danielsson. The band made their last live album, Personal Mountains, on the same trip – this one covers many of the same vivid Jarrett originals, and is the better set. But you don’t need to know that history to hear the band’s exuberance over Jarrett’s teasing yet hard-rocking vamps, Garbarek’s brusque power and the rhythm section’s energy and freedom.
John Fordham, The Guardian

All seven tracks are interesting, but “So Tender” and “Chant of the Soil” are miraculous: out-there dream music of incredible drive, sensitivity and, yes, funk. Replay them for the rest of your life.
Phil Johnson, The Independent On Sunday

Seven long originals range freely through intense highs, bacchanalian revels and atmospheric ballads, and sound remarkably fresh and contemporary. A must-have add-on to the Jarrett canon.
Mike Hobart, Financial Times

Die Musik ist von einer derartig integrierten Dichte, einer überbordenden offenen Spielfreude und gleichzeitigen Kompaktheit, dass der Vergleich mit den bekannten Versionen die spontane Frische und Erfindungskraft exemplarisch vorführt. Gegenwart pur. Jarrett-Monograf Carr hat recht. Die Bedeutung dieses Quartetts war, nein: ist noch umgekehrt proportional zu seiner Kurzlebigkeit.
Peter Rüedi, Die Weltwoche

Recorded live at Tokyo’s Nakano Sun Plaza in 1979, this remarkable double album reveals anew the unique and compelling sound world of Keith Jarretts European Quartet. Having scaled the majestic heights of album opener “Personal Mountains”, you may wish to lie down in a darkened room for a while such is its blazing intensitiy. [...] Resting in the ECM archives for over three decades, Sleeper really is an unforeseen jewel in the pianist’s capacious discography.
Peter Quinn, theartsdesk.com

La Belle Enormie [...] Cet enregistrement en concert au Japon permet de combler la discograpie de ce groupe à l’esthétique unique et au lyrisme intense, pétri d’ influences folk nordiques attestées par la présence de Jan Garbarek (saxophones), Palle Danielsson ( contrebase) et Jon Christensen (battere). Alternant des pièces calmes d’une beauté mélodique à couper le souffle avec des compositions plus abstraites et complexes, Sleeper est gorgé d’une énergie optimiste et vibrante, d’une joie communicative et d’une complicité des tous les instants. [...] Plus de trente ans plus tard, cette musique est toujours aussi brûlante et fiévreuse.
Francois Chambon, So Jazz

There's something very moving about this double album. It's not just that it has emerged after 33 years albeit with a new mix, it's the sheer spirit in which the music was played all those years ago in Japan. [...] The band may never reunite, so this is not just a memento of a group that didn't record much, but it's also deep, sometimes disturbingly intense, and always involving long form improvising built around compelling themes. In the loneliness of a big city concert hall this release is a marvel and a reminder of all that's visionary about Jarrett.
Stephen Graham, Jazzwise

Sleeper is well titled. This live double album was recorded in Tokyo in April 1979, and lay unissued in the vaults for over three decades before being dusted off for this release. [...]
Featuring an entire hour-and-three-quarters concert - two sets plus an encore - Sleeper must now be considered the first-choice live album by this quartet. The pairing of Jarrett's piano with Garbarek's reeds is an inspired one. They complement each other perfectly, their exchanges bursting with infectious energy and free-flowing invention. [...] The end result is a richly varied album that seems destined to be one of the gems of Jarrett's vast discography.
John Eyles, BBC Online