Exposé Online banner

Fred Hersch Trio — Floating
(Palmetto PM 2171, 2014, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2014-09-17

Floating Cover artThe 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.

Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): Fred Hersch

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Peter Hammill - X My Heart – Here's another work in the "difficult artiste" series from prolific songwriter Peter Hammill. How many releases does this make for him? Over 20, not including compilations? He has...  (1996) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues