Keith Jarrett was born May 8, 1945, in Allentown, Pennsylvania to a mother of Austrian and Hungarian descent and a father of either French or
Scotch-Irish descent. He grew up in suburban Allentown with significant early exposure to music. Jarrett possessed absolute pitch, and he
displayed prodigious musical talents as a young child. He began piano lessons just before his third birthday, and at age five he appeared on a TV
talent program hosted by the swing bandleader Paul Whiteman. Jarrett gave his first formal piano recital at the age of seven, playing works by
composers including Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, and Saint-Sans, and ending with two of his own compositions. Encouraged especially by his mother,
Jarrett took intensive classical piano lessons with a series of teachers, including Eleanor Sokoloff of the Curtis Institute.
In his teens, as a student at Emmaus High School in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, Jarrett learned jazz and quickly became proficient in it. In his early
teens, he developed a strong interest in the contemporary jazz scene; a Dave Brubeck performance was an early inspiration. At one point, he had an
offer to study classical composition in Paris with the famed teacher Nadia Boulanger – an opportunity that pleased Jarrett's mother but that
Jarrett, already leaning toward jazz, decided to turn down.
Following his graduation from Emmaus High School in 1963, Jarrett moved from Allentown to Boston, Massachusetts, where he attended the Berklee
College of Music and played cocktail piano in local clubs. After a year he moved to New York City, where he played at the Village Vanguard.
In New York, Art Blakey hired Jarrett to play with the Jazz Messengers. During a show with that group he was noticed by Jack DeJohnette who (as he
recalled years later) immediately realized the talent and the unstoppable flow of ideas of the unknown pianist. DeJohnette talked to Jarrett and soon
recommended him to his own band leader, Charles Lloyd. The Charles Lloyd Quartet had formed not long before and were exploring open, improvised forms
while building supple grooves, and they were soon moving into terrain that was also being explored, although from another stylistic background, by
some of the psychedelic rock bands of the west coast. Their 1966 album Forest Flower was one of the most successful jazz recordings of the
mid-1960s and when they were invited to play the Fillmore in San Francisco, they won over the local hippie audience. The Quartet's tours across
America and Europe, even to Moscow, made Jarrett a widely noticed musician in rock and jazz underground circles. It also laid the foundations of a
lasting musical bond with drummer Jack DeJohnette (who also plays the piano). The two would cooperate in many contexts during their later careers.
In those years, Jarrett also began to record his own tracks as a leader of small informal groups, at first in a trio with Charlie Haden and Paul
Motian. Jarrett's first album as a leader, Life Between the Exit Signs (1967), was released on the Vortex label, to be followed by Restoration
Ruin (1968), which is arguably the most bizarre entry in the Jarrett catalog. Not only does Jarrett barely touch the piano in the latter album, but he
plays all the other instruments on what is essentially a folk-rock album, and even sings. Another trio album with Haden and Motian, titled Somewhere
Before, followed later in 1968, this one recorded live for Atlantic Records.
Haden was born in Shenandoah, Iowa, and was raised on a farm. His family was exceptionally musical; they performed together frequently on the
radio, playing country music and American folk songs as the Haden Family Band. Haden was musical from an early age, and made his professional debut
as a singer, when he was two years old, on the Haden Family's radio show. He continued singing with his family until he contracted a bulbar form
of polio around his throat and facial muscles when he was 15. The polio damaged his throat muscles and vocal cords, and as a result, Haden was
unable to control his pitch while singing. At age 14, before he had contracted polio, Haden had become interested in jazz, and began playing his older
brother's double bass. He developed this interest after he lost the ability to sing. Haden's interest in the instrument was not sparked
by jazz bass alone, but by the classical bass he heard frequently on the radio. He was particularly fascinated by the bass he heard in compositions by
Bach. Eventually he set his sights on Los Angeles, and to save money for the trip took a job as house bassist for ABC-TV's Ozark Jubilee in