For this project, Hersch composed "The Sati Suite", an eight-part musical adventure based on the pianist's longtime practice of "insight meditation". The "Suite" opens with "Begin Again", its handsome melody moving atop a Latin-flavored rhythm reminiscent of the late Chick Corea's love of Spanish music. The string quartet is part of the piece not just background. The first one-third of the next track, "Awakened Heart", belongs to the strings; with its handsome melody and counterpoint, the music transitions into the composer's solo piano. The strings return to play a short coda. The quartet also gets the opening of the title track to themselves before the drums enter and bassist Gress begins his solo. The piano enters, the strings exit, but Gress continues for another 90 seconds. Hersch takes over the solo spotlight pushed forward by the bass and Rueckert's splendid brushes work.
The ninth and final track is "Pastorale (Hommage A Robert Schumann)", an original that the pianist featured on 2011's "Alone At the Vanguard" and on 2019's "Begin Again" with the WDR Big Band. And why not? It's one of Hersch prettiest pieces with counterpoint from the bass, a playful middle section with pizzicato strings, a powerful section for the piano, strings, and rhythm section leading back to the piano and bass, then solo piano to the finish (with the string quartet on the last note).
"Breath by Breath" is yet another triumph for Fred Hersch. With his Trio and the string quartet, one can fall into this music from the the opening notes to the very end. For the avid listener, the reward is that you can go back time and again because these songs are so melodic and the arrangements so intelligent. Enjoy!
Go to www.facebook.com/fredherschmusic/videos/619069642762378 to hear Fred Hersch talk about this album.
Hear "Worldly Winds":
|Photo: Steve Splane|
Dave Stryker strikes gold again on "As We Are". He met Julian Shore two decades ago at the Litchfield Jazz Camp in CT when the pianist was a precocious and quickly maturing 14-year old. The guitarist's memories of those encounters plus listening to Shore's albums convinced Stryker that the now 35-year old musician was the right person to arrange these pieces. Adding Messrs. Patitucci and Blade to the mix as well as the smashing string quartet makes this recording stand out among new releases.
For more information, go to www.davestryker.com/wp/. To hear more and to purchase the album, go to https://davestryker.bandcamp.com/.