Jun 25, 2010
There was a time when I was afraid we would lose Fred Hersch, one
of the most expressive pianists on the scene (check this
recent New York Times article). Stricken with HIV, the
incredibly prolific perfomer and writer has none the less not
missed a beat. If his latest release on Palmetto Records,
Whirl, is any indication, he's going stronger than
Hirsch has written brilliant works for dance, chorus, symphony and solo voices, as well as writing and performing for piano duos and trios. His tribute to Brazilian music, Fred Hersch plays Jobim, brought new life to over-played numbers and showed that Hersch is a brilliant interpreter as well as composer and arranger. A direct influence on pianists such as Brad Mehldau and the Bad Plus' Ethan Iverson (both former students), Hersch stands as a model of the technically gifted pianist who manages to wring emotion and feeling from a number, whether his composition or a cover.
Click here to listen to "Skipping" a track from Whirl featuring Hersch on piano, John Hebert on bass, and Eric McPherson on drums. It's a good example of the kind of spirit that shines through his compositions and performances, and his strong ability to work with his collaborators. He'll be performing this new material in public over the summer months, so check your jazz listings to catch him at a createive peak.