Anat Cohen & Fred Hersch

Live In Healdsburg

Anat Cohen and Fred Hersch are two of the world’s finest improvising artists—tasteful, thoughtful and fluid musicians who follow their muses while creating breathtaking music.

When they toured as a duo in 2016, that beauty was on full display with the give-and-take facility of two friends having a deep conversation about the world. Thankfully, that music has been captured for the ages and presented on Live In Healdsburg, recorded on June 11, 2016, at the Healdsburg Jazz Festival in Healdsburg, California. With Hersch on piano and Cohen on clarinet, this is an intimate album that invites the listener in on a thousand little secrets of lyrical nuance and magical interplay. Listen closely to songs like Hersch’s “Child’s Play” for a lesson on the power of ... listening. Cohen takes the volume of her instrument so low, she barely makes a sound, as Hersch follows with the quiet plunking of a single note in response. They weave the movement into a slowly building, tag-you’re-it, call and response befitting the music’s title. It’s one part laid-back, one part exhilarating.

During this eight-song set, the duo plays two other terrific Hersch tunes, “A Lark” and “Lee’s Dream,” as well as Cohen’s classically bluesy “The Purple Piece.” Both are wonderful songwriters, but they also know how to dig into the jazz songbook. Billy Strayhorn’s “Isfahan” sparkles with quirky lyricism. Fats Waller’s “Jitterbug Waltz” serves as an opportunity for Cohen and Hersch to play a little game of serve and volley, improvising in, over and through the tune’s melody. The Jimmy Rowles classic “The Peacocks” is this album’s true “wow” moment, an enduring portrait of restraint and longing handled with incredible grace and insight. The set closes with a slow-tempo, closing-time version of Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo.” It’s a smile-and-a-sigh trip into the heart of what makes jazz great.

Live In Healdsburg is like having coffee with an old friend: It wraps itself around your ears and reminds you there is so much beauty in the world. This would be a great show to see live. Cohen and Hersch will play at New York’s Jazz Standard on May 8, and at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on May 31. Here’s hoping they add more dates.

On Sale Now
April 2023
Brad Mehldau
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