On Jan. 24, 1975, pianist Keith Jarrett arrived at the Opera House in Köln, Germany in the early afternoon after an incredibly long and tiring drive from Zurich. The sold-out concert, organized by an 18-year-old concert promoter, was slated to start at 11:30 pm. Jarrett initially refused to perform owing to the subpar quality of the piano provided, (it was apparently a small, out-of-tune baby grand piano with non-working pedals intended for rehearsals, not concerts) but he eventually appeared onstage.
What was the result of this exhausted pianist performing late at night on a terrible piano? An hour of beautiful, totally improvised music, the recording of which went on to become not only the best selling solo jazz album of all time, but also fantastic music to study to.
You can listen to the entire concert here.