Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fred Hersch Trio, Floating

In spite of serious illness coming in the way of his music Fred Hersch prevails and thrives in his new trio set, Floating (Palmetto 2171). He, bassist John Hebert and drummer Eric McPherson romp through standards and originals with true artistry.

What's so remarkable about Fred is that he can give us his own vision of the contemporary jazz piano trio (thanks also in no small part to his very game associates) that has roots in the mainstream yet ventures adventurously into inventive zones that do not hearken back as much as look forward. The Latinesque treatment of the opening tune "You & the Night & the Music" is a perfect example. Fred Latinizes the song in his very own way, generating excitement and charging the whole song with kinetic rhythmic energy. The title cut "Floating" follows, a beautiful ballad original that resists the almost inevitable backward look to Evans and others that most pianists in this zone would fall into. Yet Fred keeps it where HE wants it, plays himself.

The CD goes on from there and we get a full impression of the Fred Hersch Trio today. Not predictable, not content with status quo, yet very much within the flow of the great piano trios of the past. To do that and yet not sound derivative is no mean feat. Yet Fred and company do it and do it to a "t".

I recommend you hear this one. And hear it again. This is stunning music. Fred Hersch is a force today. The trio is, too.

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