Fred Hersch Trio — Floating
(Palmetto PM 2171, 2014, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2014-09-17The piano trio might well be the single most common configuration for a jazz group, and I expect that every jazz pianist has at some time or other performed in a three-piece with a bassist and a drummer. But I suppose that's no more important than the fact that power trios are prevalent in rock music. What matters is what the trio does, not what combination of instruments is involved. The inclusion of three standards (two show tunes and Monk's "Let's Cool One") cements Fred Hersch's ties to the greats of jazz, but luckily he has a few twists of his own to throw into the mix. His take on "You and the Night and Music" is particularly imaginative, moving beyond the typical pianistic moves (bass notes and chords in the left hand while running wild melodically with the right). Instead, he presents two intertwining lines, a spontaneous flash of jazz counterpoint. The seven original tunes include ballads, folksy melodies, and soulful grooves. "Home Fries" has a bit of the feel of mid-60s Ramsey Lewis or Les McCann, though the solo section wanders into the double-handed soloing for a hint of J.S. Bach in a jazz mode. This uncommon use of the left hand seems to be Hersch's defining element, though he doesn't overdo it to the point of gimmickiness. His trio is rounded out by bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson, who shine in their own rights even without the solo spotlight on them. Floating is a wonderful example of jazz that has something new to say even without getting free or going electronic. Tasty, and with enough depth to satisfy close listening, and proof that the old format still has possibilities.
Related artist(s): Fred Hersch
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more