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Fred Hersch & WDR Big Band: Begin Again (Palmetto)

It’s tempting to assume that the subtlety and nuance of pianist Fred Hersch’s Begin Again stem from the arrangements by Vince Mendoza and performances by German accompanists the WDR Big Band. Both are, after all, Grammy winners. But while the orchestrations and conducting of Mendoza and playing by the ensemble are vital, it’s Hersch’s unique … Read More “Fred Hersch & WDR Big Band: Begin Again (Palmetto)”

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Fred Hersch Trio: Live in Europe (Palmetto)

Fred Hersch had me at the Monk bookends. The pianist draws from one of his favorite composers—a staple of his repertoire—to start and close Live in Europe, recorded with his working trio last fall at an acoustically pristine hall in Brussels. His version of Monk’s infrequently performed “We See” feels likes smartly choreographed leapfrogging: Hersch … Read More “Fred Hersch Trio: Live in Europe (Palmetto)”

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Fred Hersch: Open Book (Palmetto)

Released in conjunction with Fred Hersch’s frank memoir, Good Things Happen Slowly (Crown Archetype), this solo-piano tour de force carries a similar sense of catharsis. A whole spectrum of feelings are being worked out, and the most difficult take up the nearly 20-minute length of “Through the Forest,” which was spontaneously improvised during a December … Read More “Fred Hersch: Open Book (Palmetto)”

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Fred Hersch & Jay Clayton: Beautiful Love (Sunnyside)

When pianist Fred Hersch works with jazz singers, only the most collaborative will do. As he explained to JazzTimes at the 2015 Newport fest, he creates “an orchestral bed or rhythmic bed for the singer, but I expect them also to listen to me,” to be both “spontaneous and connected.” For years he’s restricted such … Read More “Fred Hersch & Jay Clayton: Beautiful Love (Sunnyside)”

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The Fred Hersch Trio: Sunday Night at the Vanguard

Sunday Night at the Vanguard is pianist Fred Hersch’s second live recording at the Greenwich Village club with his current trio featuring bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson. It’s an ideal venue for this band, as their empathetic interplay makes them natural heirs to the Evans/LaFaro/Motian unit that revolutionized the jazz-piano trio on the … Read More “The Fred Hersch Trio: Sunday Night at the Vanguard”

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Fred Hersch: Sarabande

Sarabande is a straight-up reissue of one of Fred Hersch’s first recordings, and it features the pianist in a trio setting with bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Joey Baron in 1986. Re-releasing the nine-track set sans bonus tracks or any other embellishments, save for a brief essay by Hersch, doesn’t do much on the surface … Read More “Fred Hersch: Sarabande”

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