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Jazz - Released January 22, 2016 | Sunnyside

Distinctions Indispensable JAZZ NEWS
Teamed up in a trio with bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Joey Baron, pianist Fred Hersch is heard on this date exploring the modern mainstream of jazz. His thoughtful and exploratory solos on such numbers as Ornette Coleman's "Enfant," Jimmy Rowles' "The Peacocks," "What Is This Thing Called Love," "Blue In Green" and three of his own originals (including the title cut) are full of subtle and generally swinging surprises. This CD is a fine example of Fred Hersch's playing. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released July 20, 2018 | Sunnyside

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Recorded in December 1989 and released in 1990 on the label Sunnyside, Heartsongs is a strong album in Fred Hersch’s discography, that would only grow stronger in the years that followed. At the age of 35, the American pianist was not yet an internationally renowned master, but his playing and his talent as a composer (he wrote five of the eleven themes) were already grabbing people’s attention. Hersch is joined by the double bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Jeff Hirshfield on this record to mix pieces by George Gershwin (The Man I Love), Wayne Shorter (Fall and Infant Eyes), Thelonious Monk (I Mean You) and Ornette Coleman (The Sphinx). As it is often the case with Hersch, it’s difficult not to mention the very strong influence of Bill Evans. But his piano offers throughout Heartsongs a harmonic personality of its own. A very nice re-release indeed. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released July 28, 2009 | Sunnyside

Fred Hersch has long been heralded as a lyrical jazz pianist with a wide and always growing repertoire. For most of this tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim, Hersch plays solo piano, in a manner that reflects much of the authentic aspects of the composer's works, filtered through the pianist's perspective. The emphasis on the delicious counterpoint within his setting of the well-known "O Grande Amor" (a piece he learned during his short tenure in Stan Getz's band) marks a refreshing change from typical jazz recordings. His arrangement of "Insensatez" is almost whispered, played at a very slow tempo, which puts greater emphasis on its melancholy nature, even though no lyrics are heard. "Desafinado" was an obligatory number for jazz musicians during the heyday of bossa nova, but Hersch's skillful, demanding bassline gives it a freshness rarely heard in jazz treatments. The pianist also found several lesser-known but deserving Jobim works in his research for the making of this CD, highlighted by the gorgeous miniature "Por Toda Minha Vida." Percussionist Jamey Haddad is added on the lively "Brigas Nunca Mais." Beautifully recorded on a brilliant-sounding piano, Fred Hersch Plays Jobim is among the finest releases in the pianist's extensive discography. © Ken Dryden /TiVo
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Jazz - Released April 21, 2009 | Sunnyside

Ever the restless artist, pianist Fred Hersch wastes no time moving from one project to another. But he's termed this one "unintentional", having played with his "Pocket Orchestra" (in reality a quartet) only one other time, and that was the evening prior to these recordings at Jazz Standard in New York City. Stripping down the ensemble to barebones with no bassist, Hersch is joined by veteran drummer Richie Barshay, the excellent trumpeter Ralph Alessi, and Australian vocalist Jo Lawry. The music sports ethereal, wistful qualities at times, and in other instances, playful, prosaic, ethnic, and curious ones. Ever mindful of the deeper spirit of the heart, Hersch is consistently able to excavate deep emotions from the wellspring of timeless beauty, ancient traditions, and always the true spirit of modern jazz. "Stuttering" kicks off the set, and it's one of those irresistible pieces that commands your attention from the first note to the last, with its mixed meter navigation based in 3/4 time, unison piano, muted trumpet, and vocal lines, a daunting swing, the complex made simple, and adding a smidgen of funk. Hersch's famous "Song Without Words" is a samba with spiritual implications, Alessi's bright trumpet identifies the bluesy da-da song "Down Home," and an Afro-Cuban bounce tacked onto a New Orleans shuffle with Lawry and Hersch's quick, maximized staccato phrases enhances "Free Flying." Norma Winstone's lyrics are soulfully sung by Lawry in the innocent, breathless, light hearted way they were written on the waltz swing ballad "Invitation to the Dance" and the unrequited, sweet, Valentine's Day invitation "A Wish." Lawry sings and recites M.J. Salter's "what did you think?" poem; "Light Years," uses wordless scat on the fun and impish tune "Lee's Dream," one Bill Evans would enjoy; la-la's along during the more ECM like, Native American elements of "Child's Song," and hums in reserved, reverent repast aside Hersch for the Spanish tinged paean/prayer "Canzona." Each piece uniquely tells its own story, with Alessi's constantly inventive and listenable horn positively influencing the sound of Hersch's wise and wary piano stylings. Another successful project in a long line of them, it is a very fine example of how Hersch continually expands his horizons beyond standard fare and tradition, making his own history with every unique idea he is still capable of fathoming after all these years. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo