Back in the mid eighties Keith Jarrett’s touring schedule must have been a little less hectic than it became later because he had time to sit down in his home studio, Cavelight, and noodle away to his heart’s delight. And not on the piano either, but on a variety of instruments including drums, percussion, electric guitar and bass. Apparently he had “always been drawn to instruments that you touch directly, without a mechanism in between” and had “wanted to record drums most of my life”. And here he got to play and overdub and play some more using a pair of Tandberg cassette decks and a pair of mics, controlling relative levels by standing in a particular place in the room.
Jarrett turns out to be a decent guitar player albeit with a style somewhat out of kilter with the recording’s 1986 vintage. He doesn’t attempt anything too technical but delivers a sixties jazz vibe that combines with rhythms from bass and percussion to good effect, even if it lacks a little direction. There are some indulgent moments to be sure, and I doubt that Jarrett would rank No End alongside his stronger performances on the piano, but it reveals another side to one of the greatest improvisers of our generation.