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Coming up: Fred Hersch, St George’s Oct 4

October 1, 2012

After an evening reaching the heights of pianism last week with Paul Lewis playing Schubert’s last three piano sonatas, St George’s has another piano treat on Thursday in a rather different vein.

Fred Hersch isn’t exactly a household name, but has a claim to be one of the most remarkable jazz pianists, especially solo pianists, out there. Like Jason Moran, Ethan Iverson, Brad Meldhau? Hersch taught the last two, and shared a mentor (Jackie Byard) with Moran. All their styles are different, but all of them can play anything and improvise out of the deepest study of jazz tradition.

I’ver listened to him quite a lot (his own trio recordings, a solo tribute to Jobim, a one-off duo with Bill Frisell, work with Art Farmer and the superb US soprano sax player and composer Jane Ira Bloom…) but never seen him in person. Seeing him live at St George’s – the ideal piano venue – will be a rare treat. John Fordham agrees.

Google Fred, and you will find a torrent of praise for live and recorded work, much of it from recent gigs. Especially worthwhile, if you’ve time to read it properly, is a remarkable interview on Ethan Iverson’s blog – one of the most interesting things I’ve ever read about making jazz from the practitioner’s point of view.

There’s a nice bit of playing from YouTube on St George’s own website. For sure there will be some Monk. Hoping for some of this as well…

If you have more time, looks like you can stream his entire recent solo CD from the record label’s website here...

You can book online, but better to call in or phone the box office instead – when you will be able to buy a ticket for £10…

Bristol gig of the year? Quite possibly.

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