|After almost 20 years of universal acclaim as a
‘musician’s musician,’ pianist/composer Fred Hersch
is now gaining wide recognition as a major artists with an
unmistakably singular identity. The New Yorker has
called him “a poet of a pianist,” Down Beat has
said “he is one of the small handful of brilliant
musicians of his generation” and CD Review has
noted Hersch’s “magical sense of time and space.”
An old college and New York City buddy
of Hersch’s, the amazing clarinetist Michael Moore,
migrated to Amsterdam in the early ’80s. Moving to
Holland meant forsaking fame in the USA, but Moore
flourished, developing a style that has garnered him
praise as the best clarinetist in jazz today. In
1986, he became only the second non-Dutch musician to win
the top national jazz award, the Boy Edgar Prize.
Percussionist Gerry Hemingway is Hersch’s
opposite: he’s worked with Don Byron, Derek Bailey, John
Cale, Anthony Braxton, Anthony Davis and others.
Suffice it to say that in this case, opposites
attract. Hear the incredible Hersch/Hemingway duet
“Star Eyes,” especially its quietly dramatic entrance.
Hersch convened this trio for two days
of recording and a standing-room-only gig at New York’s
Knitting Factory’s July ’95 festival. According
to Hersch, “The nice thing about playing with Michael
and Gerry is there are no limits.” The trio deftly
balances chamber music delicacy with casual but intense
swing. Thirteen Ways is the trio’s magnum
opus. It’s made up of loose improvisations
on each of thirteen poems by Wallace Stevens.
Think of Wallace Stevens as a spiritual
kin... A high degree of order, yet a
fascination with chaos...