Keith Jarrett loses it in San Francisco

There are two sides to a story like this.

But read this graphic account from the San Jose Mercury of Keith Jarrett taking on the coughers -and getting heckled back - in a 3000-seater venue in San Francisco on Friday night. There's a branding opportunity for cough sweets here.


  1. When ya tell someone not to laugh, what happens?

    Mustn't cough.....mmm....must..(inner hacking) ...not....(turmoil) .....cough.....(bending forward..Red Faced...).... forget the music...concentrate on not coughing....(burying face into pants).....Oh god.....for...give...meeeeEH,,EH..EH..ER...hack hack splurge....

    I love the odd cough. It carves an escape route through the air of self importance.


  2. Keith is well practised - April's Jazz Journal has the story and photo of a 1982 collapse in Manchester. But then, in pre-digital days, it was the photographer's spluttering shutter.

  3. Thanks Mark, that's a good point.

    I was also alerted by Christian McBride's Twitter feed to an interesting follow-up discussion in the Bay Area Examiner.

    Here's a sample

    I've seen a number of brilliant pianists in my time -- McCoy Tyner, Brad Mehldau, John Lewis -- and with every one sans Jarrett I had the impression they we're so deeply involved with what they were playing that someone could have set off a pipe bomb without interrupting their playing. It's a curious muse that gives a genius a train of thought as easily derailed as Jarrett's.

    I don't buy the complaint/theory about the audience perversely making more noise during the quiet passages. Just because you're not hearing certain sounds doesn't mean they're not there. In fact, not hearing would be a very useful skill to develop.

    One of the key concepts in psychology is "maladaptive behavior," actions taken through habit or perversity that actual put you further away from a desired outcome. I'd argue that Jarrett's interruptions fall in that category, The audience is a little restive, you rip 'em for that, and now they're so tense and hyper-aware that all kinds of stuff is going to slip out. A polite request at the beginning of the show noting some ground rules (the "how to know when a piece is actually finished" policy, for example, would be helpful) and a bit of flexibility are far more likely to keep the audience working with you.

    The full article is here:

  4. That's lecture material for Alex Ross, author of "The Rest is Noise" (that you posted a short time back): "When to cough, when to clap".

    "De-sensitisation Procedure Therapy - ritualistic exposure to the problematic situation (audience noise) in a relaxed setting (his soft ballard), until the anxiety is diminished."

    Three little words: Everybody Coughs, Man.

  5. Why would anyone pay money to see this guy. I don't care how great he is. IMagine shelling out $90.00 and receiving interupted tunes and lectures for your trouble. What a delicate genius!

  6. Someone told me a promoter, driven mad by the various conditions Jarret insists upon, switching grand pianos around and I dread to think what else, went on stage to present him with a baby's bottle.