rec. Mar 20 & 21, 1995
With a total album count as player, leader, producer or adviser approaching the 100 mark, pianist Fred Hersch can be considered one of today's most versatile veterans in jazz. After early encounters with classical music, Hersch started a jazz career of the old-fashioned kind. He studied with local legends in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio as well as at the New England Conservatory during the Gunther Schuller years, and soon became a much sought-after accompanist working in the bands of such as Art Farmer, Stan Getz, Toots Thielemans, Joe Henderson, and Eddie Daniels. Noticeably influenced by pianist Bill Evans, Hersch also recorded several albums as a leader, most of them with his trio including Drew Gress and Tom Rainey whose ensemble empathy is telepathic.
His new album "Point In Time" presents Fred Hersch at his most jazziest. There is a nice balance not only to the changing cast (trio, quintet, two quartets), but also to the repertoire: four originals, three standards, and three solid tunes by great jazz composers (Jimmie Rowles, Wayne Shorter, Thelonious Monk). With two of the most promising young horn players around, Dave Douglas (a member of John Zorn's Masada and Horace Silver's band) and Rich Perry (who recorded with the orchestras of Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, and Maria Schneider), the quintet adds some surprisingly heavy touch to Hersch's musical approach.
For nearly a decade Fred Hersch is known to be HIV-positive (fortunately, asymptomatic) and has chosen to take the press of time as an initiative to excel. He keeps busy with high-quality projects, and with "Point In Time" his musicianship is definitely reaching a new level of discovery.