Jazz music, news and views

Friday, February 24, 2006

Fred Hersch flies solo


Next week, pianist Fred Hersch will kick off an engagement at New York City's famed Village Vanguard with a solo appearance, February 28th through March 5th. His trio-mates had last-minute scheduling conflicts and their subs were delayed, which resulted in Hersch taking the stage alone. He'll be the first solo pianist headliner to perform for a week-long engagement at the Vanguard in seventy-one years.

Hersch's performance is always thoughtful, introspective and emotive. A jazz and classical composer, educator and stellar pianist, Hersch's trio is inspired by the sensitive lyricism of Bill Evans with the telepathic elasticity of Keith Jarrett. Hersch's recital at the Vanguard should also invoke the spirit of those stylists (no strangers to solo performance themselves), but of course with Hersch's own touch.

Last year, Hersch celebrated his fiftieth birthday by performing concerts to raise money for Classical Action, a nonprofit that solicits the help of performing artists to raise funds for HIV/AIDS prevention, awareness and education. Hersch himself has been struggling with HIV for about twenty years now, and drawing strength from his art while garnering accolades for recent projects like Leaves of Grass and his new solo album, Live at the Bimhuis. Fans of his compositions will eagerly await the publication of the Fred Hersch Fakebook (on CD in PDF format). News about that here.

Check out Nate Chinen's write-up in the New York Times.

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