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Album Review

Before Fred Hersch's star rose during the 1990s, resulting in several Grammy nominations, he was quietly establishing himself as one of the most lyrical up-and-coming pianists, as he demonstrates on these 1989 studio sessions. Accompanied by bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Jeff Hirschfield, he surprises the listener right away with a fresh approach to the oft-heard standard "The Man I Love," gliding over Hirschfield's adept brushwork and Formanek's soft, spacious bassline. Wayne Shorter's "Infant Eyes" also benefits from Hersch's minimalist approach, shimmering in an arrangement in which the leader and the bassist alternate solos. But Hersch best demonstrates his considerable gifts as a composer. "Heartsong" is a captivating work that he has sometimes played in a solo setting, though this trio version proves to be explosive. "Evanessence" is a gorgeous tribute to the late Bill Evans, with a superb solo by Formanek reminiscent of Scott LaFaro's fleet performances with Evans. Although Fred Hersch has made released many memorable CDs since this Sunnyside release, this fine effort is also well worth investigating.


Born: 21 October 1955 in Cincinnati, OH

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

An acclaimed jazz pianist, composer, and educator, Fred Hersch is a supremely gifted soloist with a sophisticated, yet unself-conscious approach to playing standards and his own original compositions. As a teacher, he counts both Brad Mehldau and the Bad Plus' Ethan Iverson as former students. As a player, his nuanced style, influenced by such giants as Ahmad Jamal, Bill Evans, and Oscar Peterson, has garnered him multiple Grammy nominations, and made him a benchmark for modern jazz. Openly gay and...
Full bio
Heartsongs, Fred Hersch
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 1989

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