Live in Europe crowns a momentous 2017 for Hersch, with the publication of his acclaimed autobiography Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In and Out of Jazz (named one of the Five Best Memoirs of 2017 by both the Washington Post and the New York Times), two Grammy Award nominations for his revealing solo album, winning the 2017 Prix in Honorem Jazz for the entirety of his career from l’Académie Charles Cros in France, and the opening performance of the Jazz At Lincoln Center 2017 Season with his “Leaves of Grass.”
Capturing his trio-with longtime associates, bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson-in peak form, the new album signals a high level mark for an ensemble that has been garnering critical and popular praise for nearly a decade. Consisting of six Hersch originals and two significant compositions apiece from Thelonious Monk (“We See,” “Blue Monk”) and Wayne Shorter (“Miyako,” “Black Nile”), Live in Europe demonstrates how a working trio breathes as one.
Live in Europe finds the trio in near telepathic communion. While each band member is a virtuoso player, individual bravura is always subordinate to group interplay. Lyricism, open-eared interaction and a respect for the power of space are all invaluable components of the trio’s identity. In such performances as the frisky “Skipping,” the affecting ballad, “Bristol Fog” (dedicated to the late British pianist John Taylor), the joyous “Newklypso (dedicated to Hersch’s hero Sonny Rollins) and the bluesy tribute to New Orleans “The Big Easy,” Hersch, Hébert and McPherson give a master class in ensemble communication, uniting as one yet allowing each other to freely react with spontaneous invention. A masterful solo encore of “Blue Monk” spotlights the depth of Hersch’s undiminished improvisational skills and expressive powers.
As Hersch himself says: “This is the best trio recording we’ve yet made, and pretty much as well as I can play in terms of energy and technical command.”
Release Date: 11 May 2018
Format: CD | Digital
Label: Palmetto Records
1. We See | 2. Snape Maltings | 3. Scuttlers | 4. Skipping | 5. Bristol Fog (For John Taylor) | 6. Newklypso (For Sonny Rollins) | 7. The Big Easy (For Tom Piazza) | 8. Miyako | 9. Black Nile | 10. Solo Encore-Bluemon
Fred Hersch, Piano | John Hébert, Bass | Eric McPherson, Drums
Last modified: July 16, 2018