He belonged

Last night I stumbled across the fact that the Swedish bass player Palle Danielsson died several weeks back at the age of 77.  He wasn't a household name by any means, but he had a long and productive career as a musician. Perhaps most notably, he was a member of Keith Jarrett's European quartet of the late 1970's, which produced some heavenly music. 

This included the album My Song, which in my estimation is one of the greatest recordings of all time. The melodies are spectacular, and the playing is stunningly warm and unselfish. In the photo on the cover are, from left, Jarrett, the drummer Jon Christensen, saxophonist Jan Garbarek, and Danielsson.

The quartet skipped around the U.S. for just a couple of weeks in November 1977, right around the time that record was made in Norway. I suspect they cut the album right after they left the States, but it might have been just before they arrived. It was released the following June.

One of the shows was at Woolsey Hall at Yale University, and I happened to be in the right place at the right time to sit up front. I have been to many concerts, but only a couple of others rank as high as that one.

If you have not heard the album, I commend it to you. Not as an item of nostalgia, but more as something timeless. If they made it yesterday rather than 46 years ago, it could still stop you in your tracks.

Of the four men, only Jarrett and Garbarek survive today, and only Garbarek is able to perform. But Edison recorded sound, and for good reason.


  1. Oh YES! "My Song" is one of the finest recordings ever produced!

  2. The mad genius on the piano. How he could carry on two complex parts at the same time is crazy. And rarely sat through a piece without half standing at some point.

    1. And moaning and shouting, all sorts of theatrics. But in the studio on this one, there's an uncanny peace, even in the more unstructured moments. It's remarkable.

    2. Garbarek has a fabulous recording done in an Austrian monastery with chant music.


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