Fred Hersch

Friday, July 26, 2024

Fred Hersch Cover

A jazz piano pantheon member, Fred Hersch has been an influential creative force over more than three decades as an improviser, composer, educator, bandleader, collaborator, and recording artist. Vanity Fair has proclaimed him “the most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade” and “a living legend” by The New Yorker. A seventeen-time Grammy nominee, Hersch has garnered jazz’s most prestigious awards, including a Doris Duke Artist (2016), Jazz Pianist of the Year from the Jazz Journalists Association (2011, 2016, 2018), and the Jazz Magazine (France) International Artist of the Year (2021). The Fred Hersch Trio was voted the #1 Jazz Group in the 2019 DownBeat Critics Poll. An acclaimed and influential solo pianist, he has twelve solo recordings in his catalog, including the 2024 release Silent, Listening, which collaborates with legendary producer Manfred Eicher for the ECM label. All About Jazz has remarked that “when it comes to the art of solo piano in jazz, there are two classes of performers: Fred Hersch and everybody else,” The New York Times calls him “a master who plays it his way.” The Fred Hersch Trio has remained at the pinnacle of modern jazz through more than twelve albums, venerated as the epitome of thrilling interplay and dynamic spontaneity. The Wall Street Journal calls the trio “one of the major ensembles of our time,” while The New Yorker has applauded it for playing with “high lyricism and high danger.” They were named the #1 Jazz Group of the Year by DownBeat magazine. And appeared at major European and US jazz festivals and have regularly headlined at the legendary Village Vanguard since 1997. Hersch has more than sixty albums to his credit as leader or co-leader. His 2022 Breath By Breath features him playing his compositions inspired by his insight meditation practice with his trio and the Crosby Street String Quartet. A 2022 duo project with Italian trumpet maestro Enrico Rava, The Song Is You (ECM), was followed by the 2023 release of Alive at the Village Vanguard, a duo with dazzling jazz vocalist Esperanza Spalding that was named a 2023 Top Ten Jazz Album by DownBeat and was nominated for two 2024 Grammy Awards. His last album with his long-standing trio, 2018’s Live in Europe (Palmetto), documents one remarkable evening in Brussels and has been hailed as its best to date. An exceptionally responsive and intuitive collaborator, Hersch has engaged in duo partnerships with several spirited artists, including clarinetist Anat Cohen; guitarists Bill Frisell, Gilad Hekselman and Julian Lage; saxophonists Chris Potter, Joe Lovano, and Miguel Zenon; trumpeters Avishai Cohen and Enrico Rava; and vocalists Kurt Elling, esperanza spalding, Kate McGarry, Audra McDonald, Cécile McLorin Salvant, and Renée Fleming. His many sideman credits include Joe Henderson, Art Farmer, Stan Getz, Charlie Haden, and other jazz legends. Hersch’s memoir, Good Things Happen Slowly (Crown Archetype), compellingly reveals the story of his life in music along with a frank recounting of his health struggles and triumphs as the first openly gay, HIV-positive jazz musician. The book was named one of 2017’s Five Best Memoirs by the Washington Post and the New York Times and acclaimed as 2018’s Book on Jazz of the Year by the JJA. His story has also been told in a feature documentary by filmmakers Carrie Lozano and Charlotte Lagarde, The Ballad of Fred Hersch, which premiered to a sold-out house at the Full Frame Film Festival in 2016 and is now streaming. His acclaimed jazz/theater piece My Coma Dreams, created with librettist/director Herschel Garfein for actor/singer, eleven musicians and immersive video, premiered in 2011 and is also available online. While widely renowned for his playing, Hersch has earned similar distinction with his composing, garnering a Guggenheim Fellowship in composition, among other awards. His large-scale setting of Walt Whitman’s poetry for two voices and instrumental octet, Leaves of Grass, was selected to open the 2017 Jazz at Lincoln Center season at the Appel Room. He has received commissions from Roomful of Teeth, Igor Levit, the Lucerne Festival, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, the Doris Duke Millennium Fund, and the Gilmore Keyboard Festival. He has been awarded ten composition residencies at MacDowell and one at Bellagio. For two decades, Hersch has been a passionate spokesman and fundraiser for AIDS services and education agencies. He has produced and performed on four benefit recordings and in numerous concerts for charities; to date, his efforts have raised more than $300,000. He has also been a keynote speaker and performer at international medical conferences in the U.S. and Europe. In 2020, he raised $50,000 for the Jazz Foundation of America with a live duo EP with vocalist Esperanza Spalding and Eight x 88, a streaming event featuring eight of New York’s greatest jazz pianists in solo and duo formats. A committed educator, Hersch has taught at the New England Conservatory, the Juilliard School, the New School, Rutgers University, and the Manhattan School of Music and has given master classes worldwide. Hersch’s influence has been widely felt by a new generation of jazz pianists, from former students Brad Mehldau, Sullivan Fortner, Dan Tepfer, and Ethan Iverson to his piano colleague Jason Moran, who has said, “Fred at the piano is like LeBron James on the basketball court. He’s perfection.” If the total amount of beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum, a $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance.