Monday, February 25, 2019

Fred Hersch Trio ‘97: @ The Village Vanguard

Bassist Drew Gress and drummer Tom Rainey first recorded with pianist Fred Hersch on a 1992 Chesky album called Dancing In The Dark. It took more than a few years before the trio was invited to play at the Village Vanguard. Now, with the much-belated release of the Fred Hersch Trio ‘97 @ The Village Vanguard, listeners have a chance to hear the beautiful music that this superb ensemble could conjure up. Hersch tells us in a brief liner note that this disc “documents a huge moment in my life as a jazz musician..” The pianist had performed at the club numerous times as a sideman for the likes of Joe Henderson, Art Farmer, and Lee Konitz, but this was his debut as a leader. The three Friday night sets were recorded without a potential release in mind. But after running across the reference CDs in his archives and revisiting the music, Hersch has compiled the best performances for this Palmetto disc. Five songs from the Great American Song Book are joined by two Hersch originals (Evanessence and Swamp Thang) and one by bassist Gress (Andrew John) for the nearly hour-long program. The trio had formed in 1991 and by this point, their intimate rapport was as natural as breathing. Trio ‘97 @ The Village Vanguard is endlessly appealing, and easily recommended.
Palmetto PM 2193; Fred Hersch (p) Drew Gress (b) Tom Rainey (d); NYC, July 18, 1997; Easy to Love/ My Funny Valentine/ Three Little Words/ Evanessence/ Andrew John/ I Wish I Knew/ Swamp Thang/ You Don’t Know What Love Is; 58:19.

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