Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Fred Hersch nominated for two 2017 Grammy Awards



“Best Jazz Instrumental Album” and “Best Improvised Jazz Solo”

Internationally acclaimed jazz pianist and composer Fred Hersch has received two 2017 Grammy nominations for the Fred Hersch Trio’s recent Palmetto Records CD Sunday Night at the Vanguard. Hersch has been nominated in the categories of Best Jazz Instrumental Album and Best Improvised Jazz Solo (Monk’s “We See”, Fred Hersch, soloist). The Grammy Awards ceremony will take place in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 12, 2017.

Hersch has now earned a total of ten Grammy nominations since 1993 in the categories of Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Best Instrumental Composition and Best Improvised Jazz Solo.

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. A ten-time Grammy Award nominee, he continues to earn jazz’s most prestigious awards, including recent distinctions as a 2016 Doris Duke Artist and 2016 Jazz Pianist of the Year from the Jazz Journalists Association. 

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. With some three dozen albums to his credit as a leader or co-leader, he consistently wins an international array of awards and lavish critical praise for his albums. The 2015 Palmetto album Fred Hersch SOLO won a Coup de Coeur from L’Academie Charles Cros – his third such award – as well as the French Grand Prix de L’Académie de Jazz.

The feature documentary The Ballad of Fred Hersch premiered at the prestigious Full Frame Film Festival in March 2016 to a sold-out house and rave reviews. His memoir, Good Things Happen Slowly, will be published in 2017 by Crown Books/Random House.

Sunday Night at the Vanguard featuring Hersch with his trio of bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson, has earned wide critical acclaim.

“The resulting album…confirms that he’s still one of the most insightfully lyrical searchers in his field. It also underscores how his bond with the bassist John Hebert and the drummer Eric McPherson, while never less than strong, reaches a rarefied plane in this particular room.” – Nate Chinen, New York Times

“His sparkling tone, harmonic inventiveness, dynamic control, and mastery of rubato are striking from the opening seconds of the first track.” – Fred Kaplan, Stereophile

“It is, perhaps, his trio work that will be his legacy to the jazz pantheon. He is Hersch. A combination of fearless determination and sensitive interpretation. *****” – Mark Corroto, All About Jazz

“…’Sunday Night At The Vanguard’ takes the trio’s propensity for dramatic lyricism, harmonic exploration and rhythmic experimentation to new levels of poise and audacity.” – Ed Enright, DownBeat Magazine (Editor’s Pick)

“Like the Modern Jazz Quartet, the Fred Hersch Trio is an entity where the indiidual parts coalesce into a greater whole. Sunday Night at the Vanguard is an instant classic, and the best piano trio album I have heard in years.” – Thomas Cunniffe, Jazz History Online

“This is as good as it gets.” ***** – Cormac Larkin, The Irish Times

“You’ll hear a Monk tune that sounds nothing like Monk, and you’ll hear originals that sound like standards and standards that sound like originals.” – Rick Anderson, CD Hotlist (Rick’s Pick)

“Fred Hersch chose to give listeners what he thought was the ‘lightning in a bottle’ of a night when the band was ‘in the zone’ - this glorious album should make you want to see the band live. And, do go see and hear them, as the Fred Hersch Trio is among the best ensembles of any size playing in this day and age.” – Richard Kamins, Step Tempest

“Hersch is one of the major living jazz pianists but he has never quite become a star.  Perhaps because he is so technically refined, so comprehensive in his coverage of the maistream piano universe, he evades categorization. In a perfect world where you were king, you would sit Fred Hersch down and make him play every song you ever loved.” – Thomas Conrad, New York City Jazz Record

“.... their empathetic interplay makes them the natural heirs to the Evans/LaFaro/Motian unit the revoloutionized the jazz-piano trio on the Village Vanguard stage.” – Matt R Lohr, Jazz Times

“A pianist of uncommen senitivity combined with sn infinite capacity to swing, Hersch benfits greatly from a remkable intective, elastic rhythm section in bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson.” – Bill Milkowski, Absolulte Sound

“Pianist Fred Hersch is a painter of musical portraits that are infused with tonal color and harmonic depth, all presented within a frame of originality, sophistication, and virtuosity.  His latest trio recording, Sunday Night At The Vanguard continues to demonstrate his commitment to these traits.”  – Pierre Giroux, Audiophile Audition

“Few pianists have possessed a more comprehensive, magisterial technique or musical integrity.... Fred Hersch is both the grandest and most lyric of virtuosos.” – Raul Da Gama, Jazz DaGama

“It’s a good thing then that Hersch’s disc is filled with so much lyricism, creative sparkle and personality. We’ll leave it to a later date to figure out where Sunday Night at the Vanguard fits in the jazz pantheon, but for now, let’s call it a richly satisfying listen that represents this latest edition of Hersch’s trio, which has already recorded once at the Vanguard, in full bloom, striving and succeeding in many musical directions.” – Peter Hum, The Ottawa Citizen

“After all their years together, take it for granted that pianist Hersch, bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson listen intently to one another and mesh with elegance on every level. However, taking for granted anything about the Hersch trio can only open you up to surprises. Close listening to this album brings great rewards.” –Doug Ramsey, Rifftides

Hersch has earned similar distinction with his writing, garnering a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship in Composition. He’s collaborated with an astonishing range of artists throughout the worlds of jazz (Joe Henderson, Charlie Haden, Art Farmer, Stan Getz, Bill Frisell); classical (Renée Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, Christopher O'Riley); and Broadway (Audra McDonald). Long admired for his sympathetic work with singers, Hersch has joined with such notable jazz vocalists as Nancy King, Janis Siegel, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Norma Winstone and Kurt Elling.

Nick Sanders & Logan Strosahl - Janus (2016) SUNNYSIDE RECORDS

Pianist Nick Sanders and saxophonist Logan Strosahl find inspiration in music spanning centuries on new duo recording

Janus, out October 14 on Sunnyside Records, features inventive interpretations of medieval, Baroque and contemporary classical, bebop and modern jazz

"Nick Sanders is a mad genius—hauntingly melodic and utterly unpredictable. Just when you think you’ve mapped his trajectory, he’s gone in a new direction, spinning off fresh, unconventional phrases."  Brian Zimmerman, DownBeat

"Logan Strosahl proves there is no Inside/Outside divide, dismantling all dialectics: he’s melodic and free, reverent and irreverent, methodical and spontaneous, swinging and angular, raw and beautiful."Aaron Goldberg

In ancient Roman mythology, Janus was the god of time, passageways, beginnings and endings. With his two diametrically opposed faces, he looked simultaneously backwards and forwards in time. Janus is thus an ideal title for the new duo recording by pianist Nick Sanders and saxophonist Logan Strosahl, which mines centuries of compositions to create music entirely of the present moment. The pair also share a unique chemistry, honed over nearly a decade of working together, that echoes Janus in its suggestion of two voices sharing one mind.

Janus will be released on October 14, 2016 via Sunnyside Records, almost ten years after Sanders and Strosahl began playing duo in the basement of the dorms at Boston’s New England Conservatory, where both were students. The album features an intriguing mix of material, from medieval, Baroque and 20th-century French composers through bebop and Songbook standards to witty and inventive original pieces. 

That stunning range of repertoire is not intended to show off the pair’s musical knowledge, encyclopedic though it may be. It’s simply a collection of songs, both insist, that they found appealing and that sparked imaginative improvisation. “Genre isn’t crucial,” Strosahl says. “What’s crucial is improvisation. Even though we’re working with music that represents different styles, they’re really all from the same canon. They’re all Western music and we’re filtering all of it through ourselves. Genres have been artificially broken up, so we’re just trying to take a larger, simpler and clearer view.”

That broadened perspective allowed Strosahl and Sanders to find just as much territory to explore in a romantic 14th-century rondeau by Guillaume de Machaut as in the acute modernist corners of Monk’s “Thelonious” or in their own playful, co-composed “Be-Bop Tune,” which distorts the revered jazz language as through a funhouse mirror. The moods and colors shift over the course of these dozen tunes, but the duo’s approach stays the same whether a composition began life as an elegant chamber piece or a swinging nightclub burner. All are translated into the same language, one that the pianist and saxophonist have developed from college basements to bandstands but that was nearly intact the moment they first joined forces.

“From the beginning, we both approached the jazz tradition not in identical ways, but like two sides of the same coin,” Strosahl says. Sanders adds, “We always played really well together. It was always fun and didn’t take any work. It was already there, right away.”

Since meeting in 2007, both have recorded with their own projects. Sanders has released two albums with his trio featuring bassist Henry Fraser and drummer Connor Baker, both produced by his mentor, Fred Hersch. In 2015 Strosahl made his debut with Up Go We, featuring his septet – or as he calls it, his “team” – that includes Sanders and the pianist’s trio mates within its ranks. But they’ve continually returned to the duo configuration and continued to find fresh inspiration in the partnership.

The album begins with Sanders’ vertiginous “Sigma,” an original piece that is alternately dizzying and jagged and which was inspired by a character from the “Mega Man” video game series. Gaming is also the surprising inspiration behind the melancholy “R.P.D.,” which achingly captures a mood of forlorn nostalgia for a bygone era – only in this case it’s a yearning for the days prior to the zombie apocalypse of “Resident Evil.”

The passing of time is also central to Strosahl’s contributions to the album, in keeping with the Janus theme. The title track is split into two halves, eventually encapsulating a sensation of frozen time, or peering back or forward from one time into another. In both “Allemande” and “Mazurka,” the saxophonist builds upon well-established dance forms, continuing the engagement with early musical forms that runs through much of his music. “I like the formality and clearness of just naming something after a dance,” he explains. “You let the piece speak for itself and just listen to the music.”

While improvising on standards like “Old Folks” and “Stardust,” and especially on a classic jazz tune like “Thelonious,” improvising is a well-established tradition. That approach has become antithetical to modern classical performance, but Sanders and Strosahl point out that hasn’t always been the case, offering precedent for their renditions of pieces by de Machaut, Baroque composer François Couperin, and influential 20th-century composer Olivier Messiaen. 

“Mozart left blank spaces in concertos for cadenzas to be improvised,” Sanders points out, before Strosahl picks up on his point. “It was par for the course because it works,” the saxophonist says. “It’s amazing hearing people spontaneously create music. We’re not trying to give everything a ‘jazz interpretation.’ We’re just going into music from multiple times and places and playing it with what we know about music and improvising.”

In fact, the one common trait that all of the music on Janus shares is the sense of possibility that exists in each. Janus was, after all, also the god of doorways, and each of the twelve near-miniatures on the album finds Sanders and Strosahl venturing into some previously unopened portal leading off from each song. “Maybe subconsciously, we look for music that has an air of mystery,” Strosahl says. “Spiritually, when you play it, you feel like there’s a world that you can tap into and uncover.”

Sigma - 3:32
Allemande - 1:16
Thelonious - 4:25
R.P.D. - 1:46
Mazurka - 2:30
Old Folks - 3:45
Be-Bop Tune - 3:11
Rose, liz, printemps, verdure - 3:46
Selections from vingt regards sur l'enfant - Jesus - 5:49
Janus - 3:38
Stardust - 5:14
Les amusemens - 2:56

Nick Sanders - piano
Logan Strosahl - alto & tenor sax



New Book: Bob Porter "Soul Jazz" (JAZZ PROMO SERVICES)

Soul Jazz is a history of jazz and its reception in the black community in the period from the end of World War II until the end of the Vietnam War.

Previous histories reflect the perspective of an integrated America, yet the United States was a segregated country in 1945. The black audience had a very different take on the music and that is the perception explored in Soul Jazz.

Bob Porter is a record producer, writer and broadcaster in the fields of Jazz and Blues.  He has worked for such prominent record labels a Prestige, Savoy and Atlantic.  He has produced more than 175 albums and several hundred reissues.  He has contributed to DownBeat, JazzTimes, Jazz Journal (London) and currently writes a book review column for the Journal of the International Association of Jazz Record Collectors.  He is a two-time Grammy winner, was awarded the Marion McPartland Award for Excellence in Jazz Broadcasting and is a member of the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame.  He currently is the host of three separate radio programs on WBGO Newark.

Available In The Following Formats From


(November 10, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524547867
ISBN-13: 978-1524547868

Also Available From

Attention Media
For Review Copies and Bob Porter Interview


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Phone: 845-986-1677
Cell/text: 917-755-8960
Skype: jazzpromo

Playlist Summary for Tom Ossana –The Thin Edge – December 7, 2016 MST 7:00 to 9:00p.m. ~ Use this link to access the show online.