As for the book, I had a hard time putting it down. Hersch, and his collaborator David Hadju, basically, "tell it like was/is." The pianist, who has been candid about his homosexuality and HIV-positive status for nearly twenty-five years, talk about his upbringing, his discovery of music at an early age, his parents troubled marriage, and how hard a time he had as a teenager (lots of marijuana and playing gigs at an early age). Yet, he never feel sorry for himself, is honest about how much he hated to practice piano (especially for his classical music lessons). The best parts of the story deal with his jazz "apprenticeships" with Art Farmer and Joe Henderson, his relationship with Nonesuch Records (not an easy one), his relationship with Scott Morgan, and the illness that nearly killed him in 2008-09. If you have a squeamish stomach, you want to forego the details of the symptoms, the ensuing coma, and the long, amazing, recovery.
To find out more, go to www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/253693/good-things-happen-slowly-by-fred-hersch/.
|photo by John Watson|
For a more thorough at John Abercrombie's life and career (along with videos and an interview, go to ottawacitizen.com/entertainment/jazzblog/rip-john-abercrombie.
Here's a track from his latest album:
Kudos to trumpeter, arranger, and conductor John Vanore on his new album. "Stolen Moments" Celebrating Oliver Nelson" (Acoustical Concepts Inc) features an all star 14-member band playing compositions and arrangements from throughout Nelson's career. Pieces such as "Greensleeves", "A Taste of Honey", and "St. Louis Blues" sit easily alongside the title track (a highlight of the "Blues and The Abstract Truth" - the song with that name did not appear on that album but on the followup), "Self Help is Needed" (from 1970's "Black, Brown, and Beautiful"), and "Reuben's Rondo" (from 1975's "Skull Session"). Perhaps the best thing Vanore, who, as a young man studied with Nelson one summer before joining the Woody Herman Band, does is not mess with the music. Though the album credits the leader with "reimagining" Nelson's songs, what he has done is arrange the music for this unique ensemble.
In a perfect world, people will pick this album up and discover just how much good music Oliver Nelson brought to the world in his short but jam-packed career. John Vanore has done us all - casual listeners and reviewers - a really good turn. "Stolen Moments" should steal your heart, mind, and your ears!
For more information, go to www.johnvanore.net.
Here's a mini-documentary about the recording:
Here's a short compilation of pieces from the album: