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Concert Review: Fred Hersch and Julian Lage in Boston, 11-21-13

Keyboardist and guitarist are a well-matched pair

Julian Lage at Winter Jazz Fest 2012
Fred Hersch and Julian Lage

Fred Hersch and Julian Lage kicked off a short run of promoting their splendid live duo album, Free Flying, at the Boston club Scullers Nov. 21, with stops to follow in Washington, D.C. (Blues Alley) and New York (the Blue Note) over the next several days and two more next month in Chicago (the Jazz Showcase). The album was recorded this past February, after a chance meeting in a Boston coffee shop a couple of years earlier. And the Boston performance, like the album, demonstrated how ideally matched they are as a duo.

The Scullers set opened with the Sam Rivers classic “Beatrice,” from his legendary album Fuchsia Swing Song. Hersch’s piano kicked off the duo version, with Lage’s guitar quickly locking in for a workout that included lots of eye contact, a deft solo from Hersch and Lage generally carrying the melody with Hersch’s comping. “Jams can be fun,” declared Hersch as it ended, and he would go on to announce the tunes, most of which he had written, throughout the evening.

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