Fred Hersch & Avishai Cohen
Wednesday, November 3rd
20.00 – National Auditorium of Music.
Sala de Cámara
Prices: €10 € / €15 / Sides and central grandstand: €20
Fred Hersch is an exceptional pianist on a commendable quest for transparency in everything he undertakes. He shuns conventions and commonplaces as if they contained a virus. And he has freed up a space where his language can flow to a different, uninhibited beat, even though there is nothing new in the elements he uses. His compositions are full of everyday references, yet colours move through them, merging in an uncertain but always natural way. This is an attractive creation at first listen, but this was already the case when the musician was studying piano at the New England Conservatory and also when he settled in New York at the end of the 1970s, where he was much sought after by such jazzmen as Joe Henderson, Art Farmer and Stan Getz. More recently, Hersch’s best allies have included musicians with similar reputations, such as guitarist Bill Frisell, harmonica player Toots Thielemans and double bassist Charlie Haden.
Four years ago, JAZZMADRID invited Hersch to play with his trio, and back then we referred to his splendid curriculum as a teacher (he taught Brad Mehldau, for example), and reported that he is considered one of the most imaginative pianists in jazz. Time goes by and that achievement is still very much “alive”. And, if we stop to consider that he has almost three dozen solo albums to his credit, and more than a hundred as a guest artist, it is fair to say that he is a very prolific artist as well.
We’ll now be able to enjoy him in the august company of the Israeli trumpeter Avishai Cohen, a well-nigh limitless creator, a designer of paths that he himself sets out with his own steps, an evident talent on the contemporary jazz scene. Ever since he burst onto the jazz scene at the turn of the millennium, Avishai has dispelled quite a few prejudices and broken a few rules as he went about it. A side-kick of Miles Davis when he was at his coolest and, in a certain sense, of Kenny Wheeler as well, Avishai Cohen fits the description of a musical omnivore to the T.
Not only that, but he can also be considered a regular in this instrumental format of trumpet and piano, as can be seen, or rather heard by the recording he made a couple of years ago, “Playing the Room”, together with pianist Yonathan Avishai. A lot of lyrical fervour and adventurous searching is now promised. And the audience’s applause for both musicians, Hersch and Cohen, will no doubt be fully justified.