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JT Track Premiere: “Little Suede Shoes” by the Fred Hersch Duo with Miguel Zenón

Track is first in a series of duo singles called Fred Hersch & Friends, to be released throughout 2020

Fred Hersch
Fred Hersch (photo: Martin Zeman)

JazzTimes is honored to present the premiere of “Little Suede Shoes” by the Fred Hersch Duo with alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón. The track, which will officially be released by Palmetto Records via iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon on Friday, March 6, will be the first installment of Fred Hersch & Friends, an ongoing series of singles featuring some of the pianist’s favorite duo performances.   

Hersch is known for his love of the duo format. Every May for nearly 15 years, he has hosted a weeklong Invitation Series at New York’s Jazz Standard (this year’s Invitation Series runs May 12-17), and it just so happens that “Little Suede Shoes” was recorded live at that club on May 10, 2018. Hersch says of the track: “Miguel has been one of my favorites—and since our first duo at the Jazz Standard about five years ago I have had the pleasure of playing with him in other venues when our schedules permit. He has a gorgeous sound, a deep knowledge of the language of jazz, impeccable time, big ears, and is open to play just about anything with an ‘in the moment’ approach which is so essential to my idea of music-making. ‘Little Suede Shoes’ is a calypso by Charlie Parker and I just called it on the spot. And I ended up visiting a number of different keys during my solo. The energy is great and the audience at the club loved it.”

Part two of Fred Hersch & Friends will be a duet with vocalist Sara Gazarek, recorded live at UC Davis on April 12, 2019, that segues from a freely improvised take on the poem “Dreams” by Sara Teasdale into the Jimmy Van Heusen/Eddie DeLange standard “Darn That Dream.” It debuts on Friday, March 20.

Fred Hersch & Friends,” the pianist says, “is designed to release spontaneous musical encounters with musicians I love in various live situations. In this day of auto-tune and endless editing, the performances are released just as they came down.”

For more information on Fred Hersch, visit his website.