Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

13

Fred Hersch Trio: Floating

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
There's no arguing the considerable merits of pianist Fred Hersch's Alive at the Vanguard (Palmetto Records, 2012) or his Alone at the Vanguard (Palmetto Records, 2011), trio and solo efforts respectively, both recorded live at the legendary Village Vanguard, home of so many classic live sets. Hersch is at the height of his artistic powers in the place. It seems a consensus opinion that "Live" is better, an idea that has picked up credibility with the technical evolution resulting in very nearly studio quality sound for the documentation of concert recordings. No more murky sonics injected with those "tinkling ice, background chatter" crowd noises that can be heard on so many of the live offerings from yesteryear.

But let's not downplay the studio, especially in Hersch's case. His Whirl (Palmetto Records 2010) isn't Hersch's most lauded recording—that accolade probably goes to his ambitious larger ensemble offering Leaves of Grass (Palmetto Records, 2005). But Whirl is a studio piano trio recording put together to perfection to simulate a tight live set. And Floating is more of that, with the same trio—Hersch joined by John Hebert on bass and drummer Eric McPherson—going even deep in that mode of operation.

The trio opens with a touchstone, the familiar "You and the Night and the Music," laid down in an unfamiliar way—spiced up and rollicking. Saucy. A version to bring a smile, that gives way to the title tune, a Hersch original. The sound is a fluid, frictionless momentum that does indeed evoke the sensation of weightlessness, of notes floating on clouds. Music played on the moon.

Hersch is a marvelous tune-smith, writing in a variety of styles and moods, while maintaining the cohesion of the "set." "West Virginia Rose," dedicated to Hersch's mother and grandmother, plays with Appalachian themes. "Home Fries" slides down south to Louisiana with its second line New Orleans feel, and is dedicated to bassist Hebert, who hails from the Baton Rouge. The trio really lets go and lets it rip on the tune, before moving into the wistful, delicately drawn "Far Away," a piece that Hersch wrote for the late Israeli pianist Shimrit Shoshan. The pianist's touch here is deft and delicate beside McPherson's subtle brushwork and Hebert's steady, dreamy patience on the bass.

Three more distinctive originals are played out before the trio shifts back to the familiar, with a gorgeous, understated version of Lerner and Lowes' "If Ever I Would Leave You," and then closing with Thelonious Monk's "Let's Cool One," sounding refined and playful and devil-may-care on this perfect close out to a superb piano trio set.

Track Listing: You & The Night & The Music; Floating; West Virginia Rose (For Florette & Roslyn; Home Fries (For John Hebert); Far Away (For Shimrit); Arcata (For Esperanza); A Speech to the Sea (For Maaria); Autumn Haze (For Kevin Hays); If Ever I Would Leave You; Let's Cool One.

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

Title: Floating | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Palmetto Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Song of No Regrets CD/LP/Track Review Song of No Regrets
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Sounding Tears CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by John Sharpe
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Lighthouse CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Kill The Boy CD/LP/Track Review Kill The Boy
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Rain or Shine CD/LP/Track Review Rain or Shine
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 15, 2017
Read "The AV Club" CD/LP/Track Review The AV Club
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 18, 2017
Read "The Beast" CD/LP/Track Review The Beast
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 20, 2016
Read "Far from Over" CD/LP/Track Review Far from Over
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 8, 2017
Read "Day By Day" CD/LP/Track Review Day By Day
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: January 16, 2017
Read "Loneliness Road" CD/LP/Track Review Loneliness Road
by Doug Collette
Published: October 1, 2017
Read "Jinja" CD/LP/Track Review Jinja
by James Nadal
Published: February 11, 2017

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!