Remembering Jazz Legend Gary Peacock
- Written by Jae Sinnett
- Category: Featured - Radio
- Published: 09 September 2020
As a serious jazz appreciator and audiophile, the ECM masterpiece Voice from the Past, from the late bassist Gary Peacock, remains one of my all-time favorite recordings. While he was a master band leader on his own, he spent most of his career performing with The Keith Jarrett Trio. I've probably listened to and watched this trio more than any other. Oscar Peterson's trio and the Bill Evans trio would be up there too, but there aren't as many video performances of them and they didn't have the longevity of Jarrett's unit. Pianist Jarrett, Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette, spent almost 30 years performing together. For a serious jazz performing artist, just about every musical tool you’ll need to have at your disposal to perform this music effectively and musically, was demonstrated every time these three extraordinary musicians performed. The stage was their classroom.
Jarrett's touch, swing beat, line construction, line continuity, extraordinary lyricism, melody variation, harmonic understanding, instrument knowledge, solo construction, rhythmic development, variation, soul and passion are a jazz classroom study. Jack's cymbal beat, clarity, time, pulse, comping ability, drum set independence, textural variations, dynamics, touch, snare accents and how they parallel what's happening around him and his passion and feel, have influenced thousands of drummers all over the world. Gary’s time, feel, note choices, register variation on the instrument, tone, harmonic understanding, spirit, emotional sensibilities, use of space, patience and intonation, made him one of the greatest bassists to ever perform.
To not see Gary Peacock play again deeply saddens me. His death leaves a huge void in the vast world of jazz and to those that learned so much from his virtuoso performances and his knowledge of the craft and his instrument. There is though a remarkable body of documented work that fully represents the many beautiful facets of his playing. The Jarrett trio was a special unit. Their unique chemistry propelled them to new artistic heights each and every time they blessed us with their artistic gifts. Each a true master. R.I.P brother.