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In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

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Today

As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

DVD Review: Fred Hersch - My Coma Dreams

Michael Winther (actor/singer); Fred Hersch (pno); Ralph Alessi (tpt); Adam Kolker (reeds); John Hébert (bs); John Hollenbeck (dms) + string quartet inc. Joyce Hammann (vln/vla); Dave Eggar (cello).
(Review by Lance).
Jazz/theatre filmed live at Columbia University and released in Honour of World's AIDS Day (Dec. 1) with all proceeds going to the Benefit Treatment Action Group.
The story involves a renowned jazz musician with HIV/AIDS, in near-fatal septic shock, who is rushed by his partner to Manhattan's St. Vincent's Hospital where doctors place him in a medically induced coma. Over the next two months, he enters a highly personal dream world, full of vivid experiences of confinement and release, of surreal comedy and ineffable beauty. Meanwhile, his partner fights through panic and despair to try to reach out to him across the gulf of conciousness, while negotiating the real world complexities of his medical care.
That's the plot folks.
It may sound a bit heavy and indeed it is at times. However, there are lighter moments such as the meetings with various different consultants who are invariably called away to the phone at vital moments leaving the partner no further forward. Another dream has him in a cage alongside Thelonious Monk who's in a seperate cage - they have to compose a tune in the shortest possible time. It's bizarre, but it's also deeply disturbing, it gives the listener/viewer much to think about.
Herch was inspired to create this piece of jazz/theatre after being in a two-month coma back in 2008 and the suite is based on eight dreams he remembered.
The music is something else. Hersch is a soulful pianist - he's also a swinging one and one helluva a composer/arranger drawing the best out of his carefully chosen ensemble.
Winther plays both characters acting/narrating and singing.
In truth, this is something far beyond anything I've reviewed in the past or are likely to in the future. Why? Because it's unique.
I've probably not done it the justice it deserves and, whilst I doubt I'll be giving it to anyone as a Christmas present I know I will be playing it over and over until I fully grasp the more profound moments that may have escaped me.
Available on the Palmetto label November 25, 2014.
Lance.

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