World-class jazz musician/composer and 12 time Grammy nominee Fred Hersch plays the Aeolian on March 29th – a solo performance from (in my opinion) one of the top 5 jazz performers in the world.
This man has an amazing life-story. I highly recommend taking a read through “Good Things Happen Slowly” – his autobiography released just last fall. You will have trouble putting it down.
A few things to keep in mind about this special concert. Some pre-concert prep if you like:
Forget almost everything you think you know about jazz. Fred is miles ahead of the jazz we usually hear; composing new music from a personal emotional place deep inside. Fred’s music is never just a ‘listen’. It’s much more than that.
Where he is now musically is a result of a lifetime of musical performance and experience. Since recording in 1984 I’ve counted over 50 CDs in his published discography. There are more he has contributed to. Living in New York City in the 1980s he met and worked with the greatest in jazz and classical, learning and reflecting back in his own writing. His seemingly contrapuntal and contrary exchanges of left and right hands (inspired from his early studies of Bach) are beautiful and complex; all adding to his interpretative power.
His music (like his book) is intensely personal and honest. He writes and plays from a place of reflection and passion to make his performance a story. He plays from his own perspective. You will hear that on the 29th.
Fred describes his live performances as spontaneous and organic. “I don’t like to over-prepare. Before I come on stage I get a sense of the room and the vibe and respond to that at the keyboard”.
His latest recording is “Open Book” a solo piano project released last fall. Consider this a portrait of an artist at his peak.
Most pianists consider playing a solo concert especially challenging; Fred loves playing solo; it leaves him open to completely expressing himself through musical colour. The centrepiece is an almost 20 minute stream-of-consciousness, totally improvised “Through The Forest” , recorded at a 2016 concert in Seoul. Fred played it at a point where he was unusually exhausted, letting the ideas flow as they came and totally giving in to the moment.
The closing track is a tender rendition of Billy Joel’s “And So It Goes”. The passion and tenderness Fred ascribes to this song demonstrates why he is one of jazz’s most revered performers.
I encourage you to get to know Fred before we see him this month. I recommend his new CD. If you have time, consider picking up his autobiography “Good Things Happen Slowly” .
Fred, never about fluff or putting on airs, writes an honest, candid review of his life; his musical start in Cincinnati, his struggles as a gay man in the jazz world, his near-death experience in a coma for 2 months in 2006 and how his passion to always make music drove him through the toughest parts as he came to terms with his life and his calling. Available at Chapters or Amazon.
That’s enough for now. Let’s meet at the Hall on the 29th and just drink this concert in… This one is right up there with our Chick Corea and Gary Burton concerts. Please don’t miss this.
Keep lovin’ live music