Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fred Hersch, Improvising Pianist, Alone at the Vanguard

Fred Hersch plays one hell of a piano. He was very ill several years ago, in a near-death coma-state, but most thankfully he's recovered and back at it.

The live solo disk Alone at the Vanguard (Palmetto 2147) shows a certain even deeper level of profundity than the usual, which I have to believe comes out of the wisdom and introspection going through such an ordeal can bring to the creative person.

It's a full disk of Fred playing standards and originals at the mother of all jazz clubs, the Vanguard.

You listen and you think, "yeah." He's dipping into that deep pool that Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett have come to and immersed themselves in. Lushly impressionistic harmonies, gospelly voicings, roots and branches, a classical pianism, great touch. And with Fred at least on this night, you can hear the whole history of jazz piano coming off his fingers in ways that could only be Fred Hersch.

It's a wonderful solo flight. The piano buffs out there need to hear it, to dig it. Since Google is down and my word processing software is giving me some trouble I will have to leave it at that this morning. Do not miss this one if you dig the deeper recesses of expression that great pianists can reveal.


  1. Here's an interview with Fred on The Jazz Session about this record and his amazing battle over the last few years.

    All the best,


  2. Thanks Jason. I know readers will want to check that out. He's a heroic cat.

    All the best,