Brattleboro >> The Vermont Jazz Center is proud to welcome the legendary pianist Fred Hersch to its Cotton Mill venue on Saturday, March 12 at 8 p.m. He will be performing with his working trio of Jon Hébert (bass) and Eric McPherson (drums). Hersch is one of the leading jazz pianists in the world. Through his commitment to originality, embrace of romanticism, mastery of the bebop language and chameleon-like ability to blend genres Hersch has carved out a unique niche that is—as Ellington would have said—"beyond category."
Now in his late 50s, Hersch's example serves as a bridge between younger players who have studied jazz formally and the old-school cats who learned on the bandstand and from recordings. He state that he " – learned in the oral tradition from older players" and he especially lauds any musician who has made it on their own and shaped their own voice. He affirms his own path on this road by saying "maybe that's the reason why I sound like me – because nobody interfered with me. I didn't take jazz piano lessons, I didn't go through all that kind of nonsense – what I play is mine."
What is it that makes Fred Hersch's music so unique, so personal? Perhaps it's that he knows what it's like to be on the edge of death and that has reinforced his commitment to be a truth-teller, to eschew the expectations of the mainstream and create a personal, improvisational language. For many who support the causes of the LGBT community, Hersch is somewhat of a hero. He was the first jazz musician to come out as gay and HIV-positive in the early 1990s, and he miraculously survived a two-month AIDS-related coma in 2008. "I've been through a lot, and I want to make something of it, musically," Hersch said. "I thought every album I did was going to be my last album," he went on.
Come find out why Fred Hersch has been nominated for 8 Grammy Awards and is proclaimed by Vanity Fair to be "the most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade."
Tickets for the Fred Hersch Quartet are $20+ general admission, $15 for students with I.D. (contact VJC about educational discounts); available at In the Moment in Brattleboro, or online at www.vtjazz.org, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets can also be reserved by calling the Vermont Jazz Center ticket line, 802-254-9088, ext. 1. Handicapped access is available by calling the VJC at 802 254 9088.