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Bebop Spoken There

Brian Dee: "I feel my generation had one advantage over today's players in that we were not musically educated in colleges, so we all sounded different. I could tell who it was just by the sound." - (Jazz Rag, Summer 2020).

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11,783 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1023 of them this year alone and, so far, 50 this month (Sept. 17).

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Happy Birthday Katy Trigger & Mia Webb.

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Vieux Carre Hot 4 - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. Tel: 0191 691 7090. 12 noon. Free.

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THURSDAY 24

Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Maine St Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Sunniside Road, Sunniside NE16 5NA. Tel: 0191 488 7347. 8:00pm - 10pm. Free. Note earlier start/finish.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

CD Review: Fred Hersch - Solo

Fred Hersch (pno).
(Review by Dave Brownlow).
An album of solo piano recorded live at Windham Civic Centre Concert Hall in New York to kick-off a year-long celebration of his 60th birthday with appearances, projects and this CD - Fred Hersch’s tenth solo recording proof that he’s now more than capable of working without the “safety-net” of a rhythm section or other players. 
In the history of jazz, it could be argued, that very few pianists could really play solo successfully and satisfyingly. Tatum, Peterson, Jarrett – those with a formidable technique. Hersch, also, belongs in that stellar group; he’s a master-musician with a style uniquely his own incorporating a wonderful harmonic sense, swing, humour, touch at the keyboard, emotion and lyrical improvisations. The album comprises a set of pieces that are typical Hersch – Kern, Tizol, Monk, Jobim and Joni Mitchell plus a couple of Hersch originals.
The recital begins with a medley of Jobim’s Olha Maria and O Grande Amor. Both are beautifully re-harmonised with “surprises” that blend in with the original rich chords. If Claude Debussy were alive today, this would be the way he'd play these songs!
Caravan offers complete contrast. Juan Tizol’s song has had many exotic interpretations, none more so than this one. Fred picks out melody notes from all over the keyboard, completely unconventionally, but to these ears, just right. Juan and Duke would smile at this performance!  Pastorale, the first of the Hersch originals is a beautifully constructed, lilting tribute to Robert Schumann. He makes the piano “sing” – reminiscent of some of Keith Jarrett’s extraordinary adventures in harmony and keyboard mastery.
Whirl is the second original and we’re soon in a vortex of flowing improvisation where Fred loses himself in a headlong display of melody, counter-melody and bravura technique.
The Song Is You opens with a reflective, out-of-tempo, intro which gradually morphs into the well-known song beloved of many jazzers because of its ‘interesting’ chord sequence. Fred’s version gently flows through the modulations with great imagination and sensitivity. Monk’s In Walked Bud is played at a lively tempo with vigour and humour; at times Fred plays with hands seven octaves apart – quite a feat! Homage indeed to Thelonious and Bud from one of today’s gifted artistes. Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now closes the CD almost with reverence and delicacy yet with strength. I think that Fred chooses his standards carefully and must know the words of the songs – as Pres did – because of the depth of feeling he puts in to the performances.
Dave B.
Fred Hersch SOLO (Palmetto 180) will be available from September 4  from Palmetto   Definitely one of my albums of the year!

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