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Fred Hersch

Proclaimed by Vanity Fair magazine, “the most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade or so,” Fred Hersch balances his internationally recognized instrumental skills with significant achievements as a composer, bandleader, and theatrical conceptualist, as well as remaining an in-demand collaborator with other noted bandleaders and vocalists. As a solo pianist (he was the first artist in the 75-year history of New York's legendary Village Vanguard to play week-long engagements as a solo pianist - his second featured run is documented on the 2011 release, Alone at the Vanguard); as leader of a widely praised trio whose Whirl found its way onto numerous 2010 best-recordings-of-the-year lists; and as the impetus behind the ambitious 2011 production, “My Coma Dreams,” a full-evening work for 11 instruments, actor/singer and animation/multimedia - Hersch has fully lived up to the approbation of the New York Times who, in a featured Sunday Magazine article, praised him as “singular among the trailblazers of their art, a largely unsung innovator of this borderless, individualistic jazz – a jazz for the 21st century.” He was nominated for two 2011 Grammy Awards for Alone at the Vanguard - for Best Jazz Album and Best Improvised Jazz Solo; these are his fourth and fifth nominations. His newest trio album is a 2-CD set Alive at the Vanguard and it has been garnering wide critical acclaim as one of his best releases in his many-year recording career. It has been awarded the 2012 Grand Prix du Disque by l'Académie Charles Cros in France.

In addition to his more than three-dozen recordings as a leader/co-leader, his numerous awards include a 2003 Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for composition, and a Grammy® nomination for Best Instrumental Composition, as well as two Grammy® nominations for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance. Hersch has featured himself as either a solo performer or at the helm of varied small ensembles, which in addition to his trio, include a quintet, as well as his "Pocket Orchestra" featuring an unconventional line-up of piano, trumpet, voice and percussion. Hersch is considered to be the most prolific and celebrated solo jazz pianist of his generation. In 2006, Palmetto released the solo CD Fred Hersch in Amsterdam: Live at the Bimhuis and 2009 welcomed his eighth solo disc, Fred Hersch Plays Jobim, cited as one of the year's Top Ten jazz releases by NPR and the Wall Street Journal. Alone won the "Coup de Coeur" de l'Académie Charles Cros in France and 2011 also saw Hersch place 4th in the Downbeat Critic's Poll and win as Jazz Pianist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association.

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Play This!

Fred Hersch: After You've Gone

Read "Fred Hersch: After You've Gone" reviewed by Geno Thackara


Amongst the trademark ballads and Thelonious Monk tunes, it's sometimes easy to miss what a mood-lifter it can be when Fred Hersch dashes off a little jaunty stride playing. Also in classic style, this selection sounds way more cheerful than the words would suggest--but in these hands (and especially without the words), it works just fine. ...

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Catching Up With

Fred Hersch: Alive... And Kicking

Read "Fred Hersch: Alive... And Kicking" reviewed by Jiaowei Hu


Few musicians have shaped jazz with such elegant, instinctive, and intimate variations as Fred Hersch. Constantly. Over four decades, life's ups and downs have not stopped him from coming back, time and again, to performing live. No word other than “alive" can be more suitable for the pianist, and it is no coincidence that he chose it to title his album Alive at the Village Vanguard (Palmetto Records, 2023), where he creates special chemistry with vocalist Esperanza Spalding. This live ...

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Album Review

Enrico Rava: The Song Is You

Read "The Song Is You" reviewed by Richard J Salvucci


There are times when the reason for listening is that something is beautiful. What exactly qualifies as beautiful is one of the long-running controversies in Western philosophy, not a matter for amateur debate when the contributors include people such as Hume, Kant, or Hegel. Surely, above the pay grade of the average critic. Not everyone thinks that Chet Baker always played beautifully. For sure, there were many times Baker was not worth hearing. But his admirers will tell ...

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Live Review

Fred Hersch and Esperanza Spalding at Yoshi's

Read "Fred Hersch and Esperanza Spalding at Yoshi's" reviewed by Roy Strassman


Fred Hersch and Esperanza Spalding Yoshis jny: Oakland, CA January 27, 22023 Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch graced Yoshi's patrons with their presence last Thursday and Friday. Dressed in a black outfit and white “Life Force" t-shirt, Spalding presented a counterpoised contrast to Hersch, who was conservative in appearance and avuncular in affect. They seemed like an unusual match made in heaven, in some jazz galaxy far away. While it was known that ...

Album Review

Enrico Rava: The Song Is You

Read "The Song Is You" reviewed by Mario Calvitti


Non sempre gli incontri tra grandi musicisti producono risultati artistici all'altezza delle aspettative, necessariamente alte, e spesso procurano invece delusioni più o meno cocenti. Fortunatamente non è questo il caso della coppia formata dal trombettista Enrico Rava e dal pianista Fred Hersch, entrambi musicisti ampiamente affermati e senza bisogno di presentazioni, ma che finora non avevano mai incrociato le proprie strade. L'inedita collaborazione è iniziata con una breve serie di concerti in Italia nell'estate 2021, in cui i ...

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Album Review

Fred Hersch & Esperanza Spalding: Alive at the Village Vanguard

Read "Alive at the Village Vanguard" reviewed by John Chacona


Is it possible that we underestimate Esperanza Spalding? That would be quite a trick for an artist who has hardly been out of the spotlight since leapfrogging a couple of nobodies named Drake and Justin Bieber to take the Grammy award for Best New Artist in 2011. With a recent resume that includes a high-profile teaching position at Harvard (now ended), a collaboration with preeminent jazz composer Wayne Shorter on the opera “Iphigenia" and a fifth Grammy for 2022's Songwrights ...

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Album Review

Nadje Noordhuis: Full Circle

Read "Full Circle" reviewed by Chris May


In terms of an honest assessment of an artist's qualities, press releases are rarely worth the paper they are no longer printed on. An exception is the release accompanying Australian-born, New York-based trumpeter and composer Nadje Noordhuis' exquisitely lyrical Full Circle. It is an exception partly because it is written by Elan Mehler, the artistic director of audiophile label Newvelle Records and a pianist who first blew the mind of this reviewer with his quietly sensational sophomore album, The After ...

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Alive at the Village...

Palmetto Records
2023

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Breath By Breath

Palmetto Records
2022

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Sounds Of Love

Sunnyside Records
2022

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The Song Is You

ECM Records
2022

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Full Circle

Newvelle Records
2022

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You and I

Arkadia Records
2022

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But Not for Me

From: Alive at the Village Vanguard
By Fred Hersch

The Miss

From: For Now
By Fred Hersch

Whirl

From: Fred Hersch Solo
By Fred Hersch

West Virginia Rose / Home Fries

From: Floating
By Fred Hersch

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