Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Fred Hersch: Silent, Listening

12

Fred Hersch: Silent, Listening

By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Personnel

Album information

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


Next >
Riley

Comments

Tags

Concerts


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

More

Strictly Smokin' & Friends
Strictly Smokin' Big Band
Remembrance
Chick Corea and Bela Fleck
Axes
Andrea Grossi Blend 3 + Jim Black
Art Of Art
Art Pepper

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.