Today (May 29), singer/bassist/composer Esperanza Spalding and pianist/composer Fred Hersch have released a five-song EP, Esperanza Spalding & Fred Hersch: Live at the Village Vanguard – Rough Mix, exclusively for download through Bandcamp. As the title indicates, the recordings it contains are live rough mixes with no edits, captured during the duo’s October 2018 run at the iconic New York City nightclub. The EP will be available only through June 30 for a minimum of $17, with all proceeds benefiting the Jazz Foundation of America and its efforts to assist members of the jazz community during the COVID-19 crisis. (Additional donations are encouraged on a pay-what-you-wish basis.)
“I think there’s a lot of joy and beauty in this music that Fred and I made,” Spalding said in a statement. “Beyond collecting money for musicians in need, sharing the beauty in our hearts can have a healing effect as well.”
The five pieces on Live at the Village Vanguard are as follows: “But Not for Me” (Gershwin/Gershwin), “Girl Talk” (Hefti/Troup), “Dream of Monk” (Hersch), “Some Other Time” (Cahn/Styne), and “Loro” (Egberto Gismonti).
Hersch’s “Dream of Monk” has been a staple of the duo’s sets since the beginning. With lyrics penned by the pianist himself, the tune is a dedication to one of Hersch’s most indelible influences. “Some Other Time” is a Sammy Cahn/Jule Styne song, less well known than the Leonard Bernstein classic of the same name but a favorite of Hersch, who weaves an elegant and vivid tapestry during his mesmerizing solo. The set closes with Egberto Gismonti’s “Loro,” launched by Spalding’s unconventional scatting, which she eventually uses to engage in a nimble dance with Hersch’s jaunty piano.
Go here to purchase Esperanza Spalding & Fred Hersch: Live at the Village Vanguard – Rough Mix.