Two long out of print concert films of the 'Standards Trio' in Tokyo - 1985 and 1986 - make their first appearance on ECM as a specially priced 2-DVD set. The two Japanese shows - earliest filmed documents of the trio - have quite different characters. Volume I finds Keith Jarrett reaching into a down-home, country-and-gospel inflected mode on several tunes, especially his own piece "Rider" and the Arthur Herzog/Billie Holiday song "God Bless The Child". In these moments, the trio moves into a joyful zone that has qualities in common with Jarrett's playing in the Belonging band. Volume II features a particularly exquisite performance of an all-standards programme, with a transcendent "On Green Dolphin Street" and a version of Dizzy Gillespie's "Woody 'n' You" that embodies the best of bebop.
Both discs feature films directed by Kanami Kawachi and offer real insight into the interactive nature of the Standards Trio's playing. They give an intimate picture of a group whose fame has since driven it toward ever larger concert halls and festivals. The close-up camera work shows fingers and faces, technical brilliance, emotional expression, and puts the viewer at vantage point closer than the front row. We see as well as hear the rapid fire exchanges and the development of ideas, as well as the obvious delight that Jarrett, Peacock and DeJohnette share in this music.