Now Playing (New & Forthcoming CDs)

photo: Joshua Blumenfeld

Fred Hersch Solo (Palmetto, out Sept. 4): In some ways, it’s remarkable that pianist Fred Hersch is with us to celebrate his 60th birthday, which this new solo CD marks. Hersch’s brilliant multimedia piece, “My Coma Dreams,” recalled and recast the two months he spent in a coma in 2008, the result of pneumonia run rampant, which followed a terrifying bout of dementia caused by the AIDS virus he has battled for 25 years. Five years ago, I sat the kitchen of Hersch’s SoHo loft. “People tell me that my playing is somehow deeper now since my recovery,” he told me. “I can’t judge whether that’s true or not. But I’ve always been determined to be my own man at the piano. And now, I feel even more of a desire to just be Fred.” It is true. And being Fred means being one of the most distinctive and complete pianists in jazz. All that comes clear—perhaps more so than on even Hersch’s previous solo CDs—with “Fred Hersch Solo.” Continue reading “Now Playing (New & Forthcoming CDs)”