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Although there are no set formulas for success or achievement in jazz, there are certainly a few "legs-up and "add-ons. In the case of the trio, one such advantage is that of comfort and familiarity between the members. With these in play, the notes begin to blend and fall seamlessly in line: three voices turn to one. And while such synergy is relatively rare, look no further than The Fred Hersch Trio's Night and the Music for a prime example. Here the respected pianist and composer is joined in the studio by longtime bassist Drew Gress and drummer Nasheet Waits for a session covering a handful of originals, as well as selections from the American Songbook and two Monk classics.
The recording finds all three at the height of their facultiesexpressive yet restrained, open and interacting with an ease established over several years together in a variety of contexts. So fluid and familiar is the trio with each other that at timesas on Irving Berlin's "Change Partners the listener can barely discern between what's written and what belongs to whim. Other highlights include Hersch's "Rhythm Spirit and Cole Porter's "So In Love, both of which gleam with tension and release, along with Monk's "Boo Boo's Birthday a playful, mischievous number among the pianist's favorites for live settings.
Overall, the disc offers a balance of meditative and physical playing, nicely attuned to the jazz lover's ear. And if you listen closely enough, you might just hear the night pitter-patter to the music.
Track Listing: So In Love; Rhythm Spirit; Heartland; Galaxy Fragment/You and the Night and the Music; Boo Boo's Birthday; Change Partners; How Deep is the Ocean; Gravity's Pull; Andrew John; Misterioso.
Personnel: Fred Hersch: piano; Drew Gress: bass; Nasheet Waits: drums.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.