19.04.2024 | Reviews of the week

Reviews of the week

US and Swiss reactions to the new solo piano album Silent, Listening by Fred Hersch


Quite possibly at the height of his instinct and wit, ‘Silent, Listening’ finds Hersch, his formidable improvisational powers sharply honed, imbuing his seven pitch-perfect originals with an artisan’s hope for interaction. Each phrase breaking like a soft wave; its ripple felt far and wide. Immediate, visceral, yet strangely, comfortingly ethereal. Haiku-like in so many ways, ‘Silent, Listening’ brings Hersch’s singular conceit, the insistence that the stated melody be at the heart of his calligraphic touch, to the dazzling fore. Diaphanous yet full bodied, Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington’s exquisite ‘Star Cross Lovers’ is liberally possessed by the elders—Tommy Flanagan, Jimmy Rowles—and lovers past and present. Another original, the allusive ‘Akrasia’ and the effortlessly poetic title track triumph and linger and linger. And linger. Like any great art should.

Mike Jurkovic, All About Jazz


Hersch beginnt mit der behutsam eindringlichen und verinnerlichten Interpretation eines eher wenig bekannten wunderbaren Standards von Billy Strayhorn und Duke Ellington , ‘Star-Crossed Lovers’. Dann betreibt er weiter in sechs Eigenkompositionen eine Art anatomy of invention: auch in Titeln wie ‘Night Tide Light’,’Silent, Listening’ oder ‘Starlight’ nie vordergründig impressionistisch; in den abstrakten Ausflügen, zum Beispiel an die Enden der Klaviatur, nie forciert; in den anrührend melodiösen nie gefühlig; in den wenigen orchestral ausladenden nie pathetisch. Das gilt auch für die eindrückliche Auffaltung einer Trouvaille, Russ Freemans ‘The Wind’, eine tänzerisch ausgelassene, filigrane Version des Klassikers ‘Softly as in a Morning Sunrise’, und für das schöne, eher rare Stück von Alec Wilder, ’Winter of My Discontent’. Ein Selbstgespräch, wie gesagt. Ein Glück, sind wir dabei.

Peter Rüedi, Weltwoche


Jazz pianist Fred Hersch fully embraces the freedom that comes with improvisation on his solo album ‘Silent, Listening,’ spontaneously composing and performing tunes that are often without melody, meter or form. Listening to them can be challenging and rewarding. The many-time Grammy nominee’s impressionistic approach creates colors that are subdued and lovely.

Steven Wine, AP News


Like Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Craig Taborn, Paul Bley and several others, Fred Hersch now adds his name to the vast solo piano catalog of ECM, with ‘Silent, Listening’. His is a mix of composition and improvisation with originals and a few standards as well. Hersch was inspired by his ECM duet album with Enrico Rava, ‘The Song Is You’, and vowed to return to the same studio in Lugano, Switzerland to record under the auspices of ECM head Manfred Eicher. The album certainly lives up to its title with mostly meditative material […] Hirsch is gentle, thoughtful, and unhurried throughout. Find your own quiet space and let your mind drift off to dreamy places. This sublimely gorgeous rendering is indeed the kind that could only occur once. Hirsch was in a special ‘zone.’

Jim Hynes, Making A Scene


Pianist and composer Fred Hersch, a 17-time Grammy nominee with collaborations alongside jazz legends like Art Farmer and Gary Burton, possesses a unique ability to emphasize beautiful melodies within sophisticated harmonizations as well as explore uncharted territory in the moment. These qualities are on full display in ‘Silent, Listening’, an introspective solo album that reasserts his stature as a prime pianist with a broad artistic vision. Presenting brilliantly crafted nocturnals, the set begins with Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn’s ‘Star-Crossed Lovers’, whose narrative process involves poignancy, reflection, and exquisite beauty. […] Breaking away from convention, the pianist explores new realms and finds new spaces on openly improvised numbers like ‘Aeon’, where he traverses the keyboard to express intriguing findings, and ‘Volon’, whose prevailing stillness is interrupted by sudden bursts of movement. […] Hersch always evokes sincerity and emotion with his piano playing, and ‘Silent, Listening’ is one of his most worthy solo albums in recent years.

Filipe Freitas, Jazz Trail


With ‘Silent, Listening’, Fred Hersch solidifies his position as one of the preeminent pianists in contemporary jazz.

Doug Collette, Glide Magazine

A US music magazine on the album Compassion by Vijay Iyer with Linda May Han Oh and Tyshawn Sorey


In 2021, when pianist Vijay Iyer released ’Uneasy’, his first album with drummer  Tyshawn Sorey and bassist Linda May Han Oh, the trio’s bond  was immediate and enduring. Now returning with ‘Compassion’, Iyer’s trio is just as musically magnificent. The album’s 12 tracks are a perfect blend of luscious melody, thumping rhythms and complexity. […] ‘Compassion’ expresses its titular emotion through the deep feeling these three musicians have for each other. Their confident improvisation breaks new ground while always maintaining a tenderness for the joy of music itself.

Ammar Kalia, Downbeat


A US reaction to the album Songs of Fate by Gidon Kremer with the Kremerata Baltica and Vida Miknevičiūtė


The album is inspired by Kremer’s Jewish background, something he hasn’t made a point of in the past, but that seems to snap much of his output into relief after one has heard this. The program consists of works by Baltic composers, apparently not all of them Jewish, and three of the Jewish Songs, Op. 13, of Weinberg, which have a quality of Jewish self-revelation akin to that which Kremer is accomplishing here. There are also two highly appealing early Weinberg pieces […] This is a powerful album, and ECM’s crack engineering staff unifies the diverse sound sources. It has the feel of a project that came together as Kremer and the other performers realized its impact, and one may be thankful that they did.

James Manheim, All Music (Five stars)

Current Concerts
& Events

Dominic Miller is playing almost 50 concerts across the globe in the cominig months

John Scofield and his trio are performing in the US and Asia in April and June. Throughout the year, more solo and quartet concerts are scheduled.

Fred Hersch is touring in support of his piano solo album 'Silent, Listening'