Hersch Releases Video, Tours Europe


Fred Hersch has released a new solo album, Open Book.

(Photo: Jim Wilkie)

Pianist Fred Hersch has long been recognized as an extraordinary interpreter of the Thelonious Monk songbook. But, despite including one of the iconic pianist-composer’s pieces in every one of his sets for most of his career, Hersch had never tackled “Eronel,” co-written by Monk and pianist Sadik Hakim—until now.

Monk’s original stride-inflected lines come in for a dizzying array of variations in Hersch’s imaginative version of the tune, which is featured on Hersch’s 11th solo album, the critically acclaimed Open Book (Palmetto Records), released Sept. 8. DownBeat is hosting the premiere of the music video, which was directed by Dylan DeMarko of Film is Animals.

Hersch has also received accolades for his new memoir, Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In and Out of Jazz (Crown Archetype). The book covers the pianist’s meteoric rise in jazz, from his sideman days alongside masters like Art Farmer and Joe Henderson to his gradual recognition as one of the most innovative artists of his generation. Among Hersch’s honors are 10 Grammy nominations and a 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award.

Good Things Happen Slowly also chronicles Hersch’s story as the first openly gay, HIV-positive jazz musician, tracing his path through post-Stonewall New York City to the dramatic two-month medically induced coma in 2008 from which he emerged to make some of the most stunning and captivating music of his career.

Hersch’s long-time trio, which features bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson, has scheduled a European tour with appearances in Munich, Germany (Nov. 7); Cologne, Germany (Nov. 9); Rottenburg, Germany (Nov. 10); Strasbourg, France (Nov. 11); Barcelona, Spain (Nov. 14); Badajoz, Spain (Nov. 15); Madrid, Spain (Nov. 16); London (Nov. 18); Paris (Nov. 21–22); Chiasso, Switzerland (Nov. 23); Brussels, Belgium (Nov. 24); and Utrecht, Netherlands (Nov. 25).

For more tour information, visit Hersch’s website.

Hersch and several other artists performed at New England Conservatory’s Oct. 19 concert in celebration of Monk’s centennial. To read DownBeat’s review, click here. DB

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