Music Recommendation, Jazz Piano: Fred Hersch - In Amsterdam

Amazon link here.

The NYTimes Magazine featured an article on Fred Hersch a week or two ago. Here is a link to the online version. They spoke to the human story that is both tragic and wonderful - Hersch has AIDS, experienced problems that left him in a coma for months and is recovering. But they also spoke to his music and how he is truly a pianist’s pianist, a musician’s musician, and a jazz player who paid his dues in the smoky clubs of the 1960’s and 70’s, jamming with the big dogs and earning his stripes.

I had heard of him but not listened to much I could pick out. I reached out to my jazz buds and they pointed me to this CD as a starting point.

Just wow. Incredibly solid end to end. Lyrical and mobile - he fluidly moves, within the same piece, across a variety of jazz genres - and it is very accessible because the thread through the music is the melody. He can play stride and boogie piano, but also create Bill Evans-like soundscapes with clusters of chords.

I am not doing the music justice - using words to articulate the surface beauty and underlying musical complexity of Hersch’s work is like trying to describe the beauty and wonder of a butterfly in flight. All I can say is that if you get this CD and put it on some Sunday morning while you are reading the paper and having an easy breakfast, and it doesn’t provide the perfect soundtrack and make you lift your head regularly to listen harder, I will be very, very suprised…

Strong recommendation.