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September 2017 Issue
August 2017

Jazz pianist and composer Fred Hersch wins major French awards

Fred Hersch

Pianist and composer Fred Hersch has won the Prix in Honorem Jazz as well as the Coup de cœur jazz from l’Académie Charles Cros 2017 (prize in honor of jazz from l’Académie Charles Cros).  The prize honors the totality of Hersch’s career on the occasion of the release of his solo disc, Open Book (Palmetto Records, September 8, 2017), and of his autobiography, Good Things Happen Slowy: A Life in and Out of Jazz (Crown/Archetype, September 12, 2017).

Hersch has also won the Coup de cœur jazz for his recording Open Book.

“I am so honored to be recognized by l’Académie Charles Cros,” says Hersch. “The Académie has been a generous and long-time supporter of my work and I am humbled and grateful for these major honors.”

As French journalist Xavier Prévost writes in the press release issued by l’Académie Charles Cros:

“Each time one hears Fred Hersch (especially solo), one is struck by the type of magic which imposes itself from the opening measures: by the strong counterpoint in the left hand, while the right hand lays out, comments on, and extends the melodic field (the song). The clarity of the lines which progress in complete independence, and yet with absolute coherence, reminds me each time of Glenn Gould, who in a challenging, defiant way mixed dizziness and legibility. And also Lennie Tristano, another example of the direct connection between one’s fingers and the musical thought. And however, there’s nothing abstract: sensuality and lyricism come from the same voice. This musical miracle takes place whatever the material: an original composition, dreamy as much as sinuous; a jazz classic from the 50’s (“Whisper Not”); a bossa nova that has often been reworked (Zingaro, alias Retrato Em Barnco E Preto, also known as Portrait in Black and White), played the way one plays a prelude and fugue of Bach, but while forgetting the division between them; even a totally free improvisation (“Through the Forest”), recorded in concert, where the vertigo becomes unfathomable. And it’s all pleasant, including “Eronel” by Thelonious Monk (the pianist loves to go in that direction, notably at the end of a performance). To conclude, Fred Hersch offers us a piano version of a song by Billy Joel, “And So It Goes“, as if to remind us of his attachment to song. Everything is played with a devotion to jazz, and with the great freedom of interpretation and even of metamorphosis that that music offers.”

For a more information and a full touring schedule you can visit http://www.fredhersch.com.

 

© 2017 JAZZIZ Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

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