“Fred Hersch at the piano is like LeBron James in the Basketball ring. Perfection.” So it says another great pianist, Jason Moran, one of the many influenced by Hersch’s immense musical qualities. Renown for a solid carrier in jazz as a soloist, composer and bandleader, pianist Fred Hersch never bothered with taking part of any successful style or show off any aura of revolutionary innovator. But, in fact, some of the modern piano jazz innovators declare themselves to have been strongly influenced by Hersch himself. That is what states Brad Mehldau, his former student, to the New York Times: “in Fred’s musical world, many of the jazz history and all music history’s developments gather together in an intensely contemporary way. His style is very related to the idea of individuality, and has a lot to do with beauty. I wouldn’t be doing what I do if I wouldn’t have learnt it from Fred, and I think that applies to many other musicians.”
Fred Hersch has share the stage with countless jazz top figures. And he did it since the beginning of his career, still in the 1980s, playing night after night side by side with luminaries like Joe Henderson, Stan Getz, Charlie Haden, Art Farmer and Bill Frisell. He joins now Orchestra Jazz de Matosinhos in two nights that are sure to become unforgettable, at the Barcelona Jazz Festival and at Casa da Música do Porto. The programme is entirely made of arrangements by Pedro Guedes, Carlos Azevedo and Mike Holober on compositions by Hersch himself, born somewhere between the late 1980s and the new millennium. These are good examples of the prodigious capacity of the North-American piano player, underlined throughout the years with successive nominations for the Grammy Awards. With more than 30 albums released, the formats in which we can see him play are vary diverse: the piano solo, the piano trio – with the long term partners John Hébert (bass) and Eric McPherson (drums) –, several small formations and the unconventional Pocket Orchestra.
This is thus a compulsive opportunity to listen to Fred Hersch under a new light, with original arrangements for this project with Orchestra Jazz de Matosinhos.