The first artist in the 75-year history of New York’s legendary Village Vanguard to play week-long engagements as a solo pianist, Hersch’s playing sometimes seems to present an almost baroque improvisational style, improvising with a classical clarity, intelligence and rigorous structure that yet remains the highly personal expression of a modern jazz musician. His style is deeply steeped in modern jazz history, a little like Erroll Garner and Oscar Peterson rolled together with some nice Bill Evans left hand phrasing on the bottom for good measure.
But this description doesn’t quite capture the sheer, lyrical, romantic beauty of Hersh’s music; mixing pop, jazz, classical, and folk traditions in a blend of lush gorgeousness that is unique in solo piano performances in any genre. As New York Times jazz critic Ben Ratliff described him, Hersch is “a master who plays it his way.” For this jazz artist, classical jazz is only the beginning. Hersch’s career as a performer has been greatly enhanced by his composing activities, a vital part of nearly all of his live concerts and recordings; his compositional talents bring vitality, depth of emotion, and seriousness that is unique in contemporary music, and influential well beyond the jazz world.
HIV-positive since the mid-80s and a passionate spokesman and fundraiser for AIDS services and education agencies since 1993, Hersch has produced and performed on four benefit recordings and in numerous concerts for charities including Classical Action: Performing Arts Against AIDS and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS that have raised over $250,000 to date. He has also been the keynote speaker and performer at international medical conferences in the U.S. and Europe.
An artist of limitless imagination, ambition, and skill, Hersch is, as Downbeat magazine aptly declared, “one of the small handful of brilliant musicians of his generation.” Hersch truly is a modern master and a musical genius of the first order and an appearance in Baltimore is a “not-to-be-missed opportunity” for music lovers of any genre or style.
Musical events at An Die Musik, LIVE are presented by Musiknow, a 501c3 non-profit organization.
DETAILS: Jazz Pianist Fred Hersch. Saturday, September 10. 8pm and 9:30pm. $10-20. An Die Musik, LIVE, 409 N. Charles St. 410.385.2638 AnDieMusicLIVE.com