Proclaimed “the most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade” by Vanity Fair, ten-time Grammy Award nominee Fred Hersch is a pervasively influential force who has long defined jazz’s creative edge as improviser, composer, bandleader and educator. With some three dozen albums to his credit, Hersch consistently wins an international array of awards and lavish critical praise. His latest release, Sunday Night at the Vanguard, has garnered two 2017 Grammy Award nominations for Best Jazz Album and Best Jazz Solo.
Hersch began playing classical piano and composing as a child and pursued his studies at New England Conservatory with pianist/composer Jaki Byard, graduating with honors. In the 80’s he formed his own trio while working as a sideman to legends like Joe Henderson and Stan Getz. From there he built a prolific three-decade career, recording as leader, co-leader, and featured soloist, and collaborating with artists across all fields, from Kurt Elling to Renee Fleming. In 2006 Hersch became the first artist in the 75-year history of New York’s legendary Village Vanguard to play a weeklong engagement as a solo pianist. In 2014, he garnered his sixth Grammy nomination for his solo on “Duet” from Free Flying, a duo album with guitarist Julian Lage that received a rare 5-Star rating from Downbeat. He’s also earned high distinction with his writing, garnering a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship in Composition. Since coming out in 1993, Hersch has been a tireless activist for gay rights and AIDS research and has performed countless benefit recordings, charity concerts, and keynote addresses. As an educator, Hersch’s influence has been widely felt on a new generation of jazz pianists, counting Brad Mehldau and Ethan Iverson as former students.
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