Walking home tonight after seeing WALL-E (it’s good, go see it!), I listened to Keith Jarrett’s Vienna Concert for the first time and was deeply touched by it. It’s a solo effort that easily rivals his more well-known Köln concert. When I got home I decided to find out a bit more about this genius of a musician and read the following on his Wikipedia page:
Jarrett has commented that his best performances were during the times where he had the least amount of preconception of what he was going to play at the next moment. A possibly apocryphal account of one such performance had Jarrett staring at the piano for several minutes without playing; as the audience grew increasingly uncomfortable, one member shouted to Jarrett, “D sharp!”, to which the pianist responded, “Thank you!,” and launched into an improvisation at speed. […]
Jarrett is notoriously intolerant of audience noise, including coughing and other involuntary sounds, especially during solo improvised performances. He feels that extraneous noise affects his musical inspiration. As a result, cough drops are routinely supplied to Jarrett’s audiences in cold weather, and he has even been known to stop playing and lead the crowd in a “group cough.” This intolerance was made clear during a concert on October 31, 2006, at the restored Salle Pleyel in Paris. After making an impassioned plea to the audience to stop coughing, Jarrett walked out of the concert during the first half, refusing at first to continue, although he did subsequently return to the stage to finish the first half, and also the second. A further solo concert three days later went undisturbed, following an official announcement beforehand urging the audience to minimize extraneous noise. In 2007, at concert in Perugia, angered by photographers, Jarrett insulted the audience, which caused the organizers of Umbria Jazz Festival to declare that they will never invite him again.