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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

CD Review: The Fred Hersch Trio - Alive at the Village Vanguard.

Fred Hersch (piano), John Hebert (bass) and Eric McPherson (dm).
(Review by David Brownlow).
A Two Disc album recorded “live” at the Village Vanguard in February 2012 by Hersch's current Trio.  
Hersch, a gifted musician, who’s already achieved much in a career that includes working with  Stan Getz, Lee Konitz, Art Farmer, Joe Henderson, and Norma Winstone among others, currently divides his time between teaching, writing, touring, recitals and raising awareness in the jazz community of the fight against HIV/AIDS.
The material on the CDs is drawn from a wide spectrum of jazz - 4 pieces from the G.A.S., 6 jazz classics and 7 originals. For example, the re-harmonisations of Alec Wilder’s Moon and Sand and Hammerstein/Kern’s The Song Is You are particularly exquisite – Jarrett-esque in style. The pianist also tackles compositions by Bird, Monk, Rollins, Miles and Russ Freeman with original, fully integrated trio renditions in vigorous, creative and lyrical style. Among the originals,  Hersch pays homage to Ornette, Paul Motian and Wayne Shorter in a more “contemporary” piano trio style, which repays repeated listenings.
The leader's own playing often incorporates devices taken from his one-time classical background such as “contrary-motion” figures, simultaneous improvisations with both right and left hands, elements of “fugue development” and playing melody in the left hand with right hand accompaniments – all difficult to do!
Also, his “touch” at the keyboard is glorious – he really makes the piano “sing” reminding me of Jarrett again. In my opinion, these attributes together with his sophisticated harmonic sense, strong rhythmic playing and vast technique make Hersch a formidable player.
Bass and drum duties are handled more than competently in a style reminiscent of some of the Bill Evans trios.
The Fred Hersch Trio - Alive at the Village Vanguard is due to be released on September 11 by Palmetto Records to coincide with the Trio’s current tour of the U.S., U.K. and Europe - nearest venue to Newcastle is Leeds!
Available for pre-order here.
A thoroughly enjoyable album which for me at times invoked the Whitney Balliett comment “The Sound of Surprise”.   
Recommended.
David Brownlow.

1 comment :

Lance said...

Just had a listen to the album and I totally agree with you David, it's an absolute gem. The mellow version of "Doxy" is something else whilst the implied version of "I Fall In Love Too Easily" is positively sensuous!

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