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Bebop Spoken There

Vadim Neselovskyi, Professor of Jazz Piano, Berklee College of Music: “Every pianist has to deal with a very complex left-hand part at some point. This is the essential pianistic experience – to split your brain into two halves and execute two very different tasks at the same time.” – (Down Beat September 2017).

Roscoe Mitchell: “To me, improvisation is trying to improve your skills so you can make these on-point compositional decisions. That takes practice.” – (Down Beat September 2017)

Archives

Today Tuesday September 26

Afternoon
Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Black Bull, 98 Front St., East Boldon NE36 0SG. 1pm. Free. 0191 5365127. New residency 2 mins from East Boldon metro.
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Evening
Maine Street Jazzmen - Royal British Legion, West Jesmond Ave., Newcastle NE2 3EX. 8:30pm. £5.
Charles Gordon (solo piano) - Redwood Bar, Vermont Hotel, Newcastle. 10pm - midnight. Free.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

CD Review: Fred Hersch - (open book)

Fred Hersch (piano)
(Review by Dave Brownlow)
(open book) is jazz piano-master Fred Hersch’s latest recording – his eleventh solo album – which finds him in a particularly reflective and lyrical mood. It is timed to coincide with the publishing of his memoir Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In and Out of Jazz which reveals his meteoric rise in jazz and his recognition as one of the most individual and expressive artists of his generation.
The music was recorded in a Seoul, South Korea, concert hall on a Hamburg/Steinway grand piano and Fred utilises all the magnificent sonorities throughout.
The Orb first appeared in Hersch’s recent music-theatre show My Coma Dreams and is an out-of tempo exploration of the theme with frequent re-harmonisations and daring phrases. I hear some of the chord-sequence of Stella by Starlight here and there…Benny Golson’s Whisper Not opens like a Bach Two-Part Invention, cleverly going straight into swinging improvisation in the same style with the theme stated only at the very end. I can see a parallel here with J S Bach himself playing keyboard in the court of Frederick The Great and hoping for his pay-cheque at the end of the month! (Bach was a great improviser!) Jobim’s Zingaro is transformed from a bossa-nova to a Chopin-like Nocturne in a minor key and is a graceful, fluid performance.
Next is the nineteen-and a-half minute Through the Forest which forms the centre-piece of the album. This was an unplanned, spontaneous piece where Fred allowed his improvisatory powers full rein in at times a surreal, abstract way. Hersch himself remarks “this is an example of improvising with no safety-net or pre-conceived ideas – I just went wherever it took me until it felt right to arrive at a musical and emotional destination.” I suggest that there are only a handful of musicians in the world today who are capable of a performance of this nature (Keith Jarrett is another) who have the musical knowledge and intelligence to carry it out successfully.
Following this tour-de-force is Plainsong another Hersch composition, a classical-flavoured piece somewhat like a folk-song, with theme and variations where the music meanders along in a melancholic mood. Fred always includes a Monk song in every recital – this one is a jaunty, buoyant effort – Eronel  co-written by Sadik Hakim (Argonne Thornton). Now there’s a name to conjure with! Argonne is believed to have played a small part on piano in the seminal 1945 Charlie Parker session which produced Now’s the Time and Billie’s Bounce! Finally, Billy Joel’s tender song And So It Goes brings the album to its conclusion. Here is a sensitive reading of this piece, beautifully harmonised in a gentle out-of–tempo style where the pianist extracts every bit of emotion from the fragile melody.
So, another in the series of successful albums from Fred Hersch which further enhances his status among today’s master-musicians.
Dave.
(open book) is on Palmetto PM2186 available on 8th September 2017 from:

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Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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