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Fred Hersch

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Biography

A superior soloist, accompanist, and interpreter of ballads, Fred Hersch started playing piano when he was four. He moved to New York in 1977 and worked as a sideman with many players including Stan Getz, Joe Henderson, Toots Thielemans, Art Farmer, Jane Ira Bloom, Eddie Daniels, and Janis Siegel, in addition to leading his own groups. During 1980-1986, he taught at the New England Conservatory and became part of the faculty at the New School. In addition, Hersch has recorded extensively as a leader, including for Sunnyside, Concord, Angel/EMI, Red, and Chesky, issuing Songs We Know in 1998. Songs Without Words followed three years later. Since that time, Hersch has remained quite active, releasing a bevy of albums including the three-disc Songs Without Words in 2001, the ambitious Walt Whitman-inspired project Leaves of Grass in 2005, and Night & the Music in 2007. In 2009, Live at Jazz Standard appeared on Sunnyside, billed under the Fred Hersch Pocket Orchestra, as did the solo bossa nova-themed effort Fred Hersch Plays Jobim. In 2010, Hersch released Whirl, on Palmetto. A trio recording with drummer Eric McPherson and bassist John Hébert, it focuses on originals but there are three notable covers: film composer Harry Warren's "You're My Everything," Jaki Byard's "Mrs. Parker of K.C.," and Paul Motian's "Blue Midnight." Hersch was also the subject of a major article in The New York Times Sunday Magazine in 2010 entitled Giant Steps: The Survival of a Great Jazz Pianist, by David Hadju. In 2011, Hersch delivered the live solo album Alone at the Vanguard followed a year later with the trio album Alive at the Vanguard.

Born:

21 October 1955 in Cincinnati, OH

Genre
Years Active:

'80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Influencers

Contemporaries