It’s 1975 and I’m nine years old. I’m lying on my back in Reservoir Park, a small city block of grass and oaks next to the University of Utah. In my head is a song that trips and travels as I run and play with friends. It’s a vision of sound, a strong impression of bright sun and moving clouds, a feeling on my skin, a growing chill in the air. Is it October? The song is a constant rhythm of consciousness and motion, a life in itself but also within me, as if I’m one of its many, many tributaries.
For some things there is no accounting or quantifying: How much beauty? How much devotion? How wide the smile of god?
There are many details about the conditions under which Keith Jarrett performed his concert in Köln in January 1975, from the context of his blossoming solo and collaborative career on the heels of his epic work with Miles Davis, to the third-rate piano he was given on which to perform the show, to the fact he was exhausted and in a significant amount of physical pain for his hour-plus improvisation in front of a sold-out Opera House crowd.
Ultimately none of these details matter. The Köln Concert is a river, and, if there are miracles in my life, it’s that such depths continue to transport me.