1

Fred Hersch Trio: Alive At The Vanguard

Larry Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Fred Hersch Trio: Alive At The Vanguard Pianist Fred Hersch's Alone at the Vanguard (Palmetto) was chosen by many as one of 2011's best, and rightfully so.

Now, following up that solo album, is Alive at the Vanguard, a double album which finds the pianist with his current trio. Playing together since 2010, Hersch has settled in comfortably with bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson, veteran musicians of estimable talent who both can drive hardily and swing delicately. This recording puts the three on a par with the great Bill Evans and his small groups.

Reviewing the trio at the Vanguard the week of the live recording, The New York Times' Nate Chinen referred to the group's confidence and "stronger sense of itself." The Times had earlier hailed Hersch, and put him alongside current piano greats Brad Mehldau, Jason Moran and Vijay Iyer. The newspaper called them "trailblazers of a borderless, individualistic jazz—a jazz for the 21st century."

Alive at the Vanguard features seven Hersch originals, four American Songbook mainstays and seven classic jazz tunes. A wide range of music for lots of listening pleasure.

The album opens with Hersch's "Havana," with its infectious Latin beat—perhaps a nod to Chick Corea. The inventive McPherson features brushes, traps and claves on his kit, building to a strong finish.

In a very effective medley, Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman" begins with haunting drum beats, backing ominous chords, suggesting profound isolation; this heavy atmosphere vaporizes into the otherworldly essence of trumpeter Miles Davis' "Nardis." The bass comes in to solo, underlining this midnight experience.

On the CD, Hersch displays two approaches to standards—both exhibiting his improvisational skills. "Softly As In A Morning Sunrise," the old Romberg/ Hammerstein favorite, begins softly as Hersch adheres closely to the tune; midway he ups the speed and the arrangement becomes seemingly extemporaneous. On Cole Porter's "From This Moment On," Hersch sidles close to the melody but purposely avoids it. At the end he lushly embraces it.

In the cover notes, Hersch indicates he was greatly influenced by Sonny Rollins. Here, he plays a delicate, bluesy rendition of the saxophonist's classic "Doxy," with a Fats Waller touch at the end.

The last number, a medley, creates a whiplash effect. Hammerstein/Kern's "The Song Is You" flows slowly and sensually, piano wed with the impeccable rhythm section. Then, on with a flourish, comes Thelonious Monk's complicated "Played Twice," drums at full throttle. All ends on a good high.

This is a generous album in content and spirit, from three players who really have got it right.


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: basss; Eric McPherson: bass.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Palmetto Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Funk 'n' Feathers" CD/LP/Track Review Funk 'n' Feathers
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 7, 2016
Read "Once Upon a Time Right Now" CD/LP/Track Review Once Upon a Time Right Now
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: July 29, 2016
Read "Rub Out The Word" CD/LP/Track Review Rub Out The Word
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 21, 2016
Read "The Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" CD/LP/Track Review The Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: February 4, 2017
Read "Wash My Horse In Champagne" CD/LP/Track Review Wash My Horse In Champagne
by James Nadal
Published: July 15, 2016
Read "Live In Brooklyn" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Brooklyn
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 23, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!