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Fred Hersch Trio: Alive At The Vanguard (2012)

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Fred Hersch Trio: Alive At The Vanguard How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Tradition is served well on this Fred Hersch Trio live recording from New York's Village Vanguard. The pianist's covers of the American songbook, like Cole Porter
Cole Porter
Cole Porter
1891 - 1964
composer/conductor
's "From This Moment On" and jazz classics such as Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
1926 - 1991
trumpet
' "Nardis" and Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
's "Played Twice," animate and energize every moment of this club date.

Hersch, whose touring and output has been rejuvenated since he survived a two-month coma caused by complications of HIV, released two previous discs—Whirl (Palmetto, 2010) (a trio session) and the solo effort, Alone At The Village Vanguard (Palmetto, 2011).

One of the marks of a true master is always his sidemen. Hersch's longstanding trio of Drew Gress
Drew Gress
Drew Gress
b.1959
bass
and Nasheet Waits
Nasheet Waits
Nasheet Waits
b.1971
drums
, last heard on Whirl, are replaced here with the strong rhythm section of bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson. Like trading apples for apples, the bassist, drummer and Hersch are the definition of simpatico.

That feeling carries through the authentic Vanguard experience. Hersch's take on Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
b.1930
saxophone
' 1957 date at the club includes the classic "Softly As A Morning Sunrise," played with a light dancing touch over McPherson's brushwork, and the piece increases in complexity without forsaking the melody. The trio also plays around with Rollins' "Doxy" by taking it at a much slower pace, its irony here is admirable. The same goes for his original ballad "Tristesse," written for the late Paul Motian
Paul Motian
Paul Motian
1931 - 2011
drums
, who was the monarch of the Vanguard during last ten years of his life. Hersch has a way of reinvesting in legends and their work, such as with Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
1920 - 1955
sax, alto
's "Segment" and his mash-up of Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
b.1930
sax, alto
's "Lonely Woman" and Davis' "Nardis." Hersch also created the tune "Sartorial" for Coleman, with the free jazz progenitor's leaps and gestures, and "Dream of Monk" portioned in Monk-speak.

The thrill of a live date at The Village Vanguard is to create something that stands tall next to all the history of the place, and Hersch certainly manages to accomplish that.

Track Listing: CD1: Havana; Tristesse; Segment; Lonely Woman/Nardis; Dream of Monk; Rising, Falling; Softly As In a Morning Sunrise; Doxy. CD2: Opener; I Fall in Love Too Easily; Jackalope; The Wind/Moon and Sand; Sartorial; From This Moment On; The Song is You/Played Twice.

Personnel: Fred Hersch: piano; John Hébert: bass; Eric McPherson: drums.

Record Label: Palmetto Records

Style: Modern Jazz


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