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Fred Hersch: Silent, Listening


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Fred Hersch: Silent, Listening
Like many of Fred Hersch's haunted, focused recordings—2017's Grammy nominated Open Book(Palmetto Records), Solo (Palmetto Records, 2015) or In Amsterdam: Live at the Bimhuis (Palmetto Records, 2006)—the short story of Silent, Listening, Hirsch's first solo foray for ECM, is this: Stay for the rich, orchestral novel and the full reward is yours.

On his thirteenth solo foray, Hersch tells the whole story which comprises the lyrical abstracts and open questions the pianist poses on the melodically quixotic "Aeon." "Little Song" another of Hersch's wanderlust compositions, (written for his duo with Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava) rings bright and innocently enough but serves as a reality check on the more shadowy aspects of the embracing "The Wind" and wine dark "Volon." A brief epic classically informed, Hersch plays all the parts: brass, woodwinds, strings, percussion. Because of both its brevity and its wide range, "Volon"could be considered one the pianist's purer moments when the dust finally settles.

Quite possibly at the height of his instinct and wit, Silent, Listening finds Hersch, his formidable improvisational powers sharply honed, imbuing his seven pitch-perfect originals with an artisan's hope for interaction. Each phrase breaking like a soft wave; its ripple felt far and wide. Immediate, visceral, yet strangely, comfortingly ethereal.

Haiku-like in so many ways, Silent, Listening brings Hersch's singular conceit, the insistence that the stated melody be at the heart of his calligraphic touch, to the dazzling fore. Diaphanous yet full bodied, Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington's exquisite "Star Cross Lovers" is liberally possessed by the elders—Tommy Flanagan, Jimmy Rowles—and lovers past and present. Another original, the allusive "Akrasia" and the effortlessly poetic title track triumph and linger and linger. And linger.

Like any great art should.

Track Listing

Star-Crossed Lovers; Night Tidelight; Akrasia; Silent, Listening; Starlight; Aeon; Little Song; The Wind; Volon; Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise; Winter Of My Discontent.


Album information

Title: Silent, Listening | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: ECM Records

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