Saturday, May 23, 2020

Esperanza & Fred: Great Music for a Good Cause!

Over his career, pianist and composer Fred Hersch has performed and recorded in the duo setting many times with partners such as Jay Clayton, Norma Winstone, Bill Frisell, Anat Cohen, Jane Ira Bloom, and more.  Up until this year, he's been holding an annual Duo Invitation Series in New York City (at The Jazz Standard with select dates at The Village Vanguard and Jazz at Lincoln Center).  Since the pandemic struck the United States, Mr. Hersch and his fellow musicians have been "sheltering" at home but that has not stopped from beginning a video series of daily (for a while) and weekly "living room" shows (which started daily on Facebook and is now weekly on Patreon – to subscribe, go to

This week and through the end of June, you can hear and purchase "Esperanza Spalding & Fred Hersch: Live at The Village Vanguard".  Recorded in October of 2018, this five-song program carries the subtitle "Rough Mix EP" and is being made available exclusively on Bandcamp (link below).  On the site, the artists tell you that "all proceeds benefiting the Jazz Foundation of America and the organization’s efforts to assist members of the jazz community impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic." 

It's a delightful program –– the material includes one Fred Hersch original ("Dream of Monk"), "Loro" (Egberto Gismonti), "But Not For Me" (George & Ira Gershwin), "Some Other Time" (Sammy Cahn and Jules Styne), and the album's centerpiece, a hilarious take on "Girl Talk" (composed by Neal Hefti and Bobby Troup, made famous by Julie London –– watch Troup's video on YouTube for a comparison ). Ms. Spalding is in excellent voice and her sense of humor is evident throughout right through the dancing version of Gismonti's tune. As for Mr. Hersch, he proved years ago that he's a wonderful accompanist and he, too, is in "excellent voice."  

Music for a good cause?  Absolutely!  Good music??  No! No? Great music! Fun music! If you're not in a good mood after listening to "Esperanza Spalding & Fred Hersch: Live at The Village Vanguard", our prayers go out to you!

Go to and help these two artists help support the jazz community in this time of real need.

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