Fred Hersch at Kerrytown
marvelous pianist Fred Hersch returned for the fifth time to
the Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor on May 12th. He has perfected
the solo concert form and presented a varied program drawn largely from
his new 3-CD
set Songs Without Words (Nonesuch). I caught the first concert
and a few songs of the second.
Hersch is a pianist who seems constantly to be
exploring new forms of expression within his own distinctive approach
to jazz piano. His version of "Caravan" was closer to Stravinsky
than to Ellington/Tizol. He remade Monk's "Work" into his
own piece while still preserving the angular quality of the Master.
As he stated the theme I was wary that Hersch was about to give us a
prettified, clean-cut version of Monk, but once he soloed my fears were
dispelled. Hersch played two Cole Porter pieces, a beautiful poetic
version of "So in Love" and a fittingly witty version of "You're
the Top," to match Porter's clever lyrics.
The last part of the concert was devoted to
Hersch's own cycle of six pieces called "Songs Without Words."
It included the baroque "Aria" and a swinging "duet."
The gem of the first concert was his encore "Mood Indigo."
It was an exceptionally tender and beautifully harmonized version. I
was lucky enough to have time to hear a great version of Benny Golson's
"Whisper Not" in the second concert. It showcased Hersch's
chops, creativity, and rhythmic drive. In all, a wonderful evening for
lovers of jazz piano.
I N - T H I S - I S S U E :
JAZZ: HISTORY---2. HAZEN
FILLS IN THE BLANKS
3. BILLY MITCHELL---4.
YOUTH JAZZ WORKSHOP
5. MICHIGAN JAZZ FEST---6.
7. FRED HERSCH---8. RECENT