Fred Hersch: Refuge, due out January 7, 2022 via Palmetto Records, features Hersch with Drew Gress, Jochen Rueckert & The Hudson String Quartet
“Fred Hersch belongs to the jazz piano aristocracy, that small elite called to leave a lasting mark.” – Louis-Julien Nicolaou, Télérama, June 2021
“Fred Hersch is always on target. Right in the heart. By playing ‘Songs from Home.’ Fred Hersch makes Bal Blomet his home. The audience’s silence is worthy of that of the forest that surrounds the house where this album was recorded…. Fred Hersch makes the piano sing…. The public does not want to leave. Fred Hersch either.” – Guillaume Lagrée, Le jars jase jazz, June 2021
Iconic pianist/composer Fred Hersch – one of the first to find a new way forward in the pandemic both through his Facebook Tune of the Day performances and via his reflective solo album Songs from Home – heads to the studio in August to record Fred Hersch: Refuge, his first-ever album with rhythm section and string quartet. It will be released January 7, 2022 via Palmetto Records.
Featuring Hersch with Drew Gress, Jochen Rueckert and the all-female NYC-based Hudson String Quartet: Joyce Hammann and Laura Seaton-Finn, violins; Lois Martin, viola; and Jody Redhage Ferber, cello, the album was inspired by Hersch’s Buddhism and his 20-year insight mindfulness meditation practice. The bulk of the album is an eight-movement suite that reflects on different aspects of that practice
“In Buddhism, there are the three refuges: refuge in the Buddha, refuge in the sangha (community of practitioners) and refuge in the dhamma (the teachings),” says Hersch. “At this time of global impermanence, I have found some degree of comfort in these refuges – places that I can turn to and feel somewhat less affected by it all of the suffering and toxicity around me. And these refuges also give me some strength to stay in the present and know that there are many things that are out of my control – but I can call upon my practice to be with my experiences instead of reacting to them.”
Hersch recently earned accolades in DownBeat Magazine’s 2021 Critics Poll as #2 Jazz Artist, #3 Pianist, and #4 Jazz Album of the Year for Songs From Home. Hersch also earned a spot as one of the best pianists of 2020 in the JazzTimes Readers Poll. He is currently on tour in Europe where he’s earning wide critical acclaim for his over a dozen shows – his first concerts before an audience in 14 months. Reviewing his concert in Paris, Guillaume Lagrée wrote “Fred Hersch is always on target… The public does not want to leave. Fred Hersch either.” Hersch also performed in Recklinghausen, Rome, Carpi, Vicenza, Pescara, Bari, Perugia, Umbria, Montreux, and Brescia – as a solo pianist, with trio and duo in a new partnership with Italian jazz legend trumpeter Enrico Rava.
Hersch will continuing touring both the U.S. and Europe throughout the fall. His dates include a week at the Village Vanguard in a duo with Julian Lage October 19-25, and a series of duo shows in Europe with Enrico Rava in October and November. Click here for upcoming tour dates.
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photo ©Rebecca Ashley
A select member of jazz’s piano pantheon, Fred Hersch is a pervasively influential creative force who has shaped the music’s course over more than three decades as an improviser, composer, educator, bandleader, collaborator and recording artist. With some fifty albums to his credit as a leader or co-leader, he’s a 15-time Grammy Award nominee who continues to earn jazz’s most prestigious awards, including recent distinctions as a 2016 Doris Duke Artist and 2018 Jazz Pianist of the Year from the Jazz Journalists Association. Proclaimed “a living legend” by The New Yorker, Hersch has long defined jazz’s creative edge in a wide variety of settings, from his breathtaking solo recitals and exploratory duos to his extraordinary trios and innovative chamber settings. As a composer, he is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship – and his recent releases, Live In Europe with his celebrated trio, and the 2020 solo disc Songs From Home are definitive statements. His acclaimed memoir Good Things Happen Slowly is available from Crown Archetype Books. fredhersch.com