Jazz pianist Fred Hersch comes to town to play a concert on May 31 and brings two musician friends with him-clarinetist/saxophonist Anat Cohen and vocalist Kate McGarry. The Performance Santa Fe gig features collaborations between Hersch and Cohen, Hersch and McGarry and all three musicians together. Hersch plans to do a little bit of solo playing as well.
“We’ll be programming the concert kind of loosely,” explains Hersch, who is a 12-time Grammy Award nominee and the recipient of multiple awards for his work in jazz and a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship in Composition.
“Anat, Kate and I will be hanging out together the day before the concert to talk about what we want to do,” Hersch adds.
“I know that Anat and I will play some tunes from our album “Live in Healdsburg.” I also expect to play some of my original compositions, pop covers and more.”
With more than three dozen albums as leader or co-leader to his credit, Hersch has collaborated with some of the finest jazz musicians and vocalists in the business (Joe Henderson, Charlie Haden, Art Farmer, Stan Getz, Bill Frisell, Janis Siegel and Cecile McLorin Salvant, to name a few) and an impressive group of classically-trained singers during his close to 40-year career.
Many of his experiences with these musical powerhouses are related in his September 2017 memoir “Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In and Out of Jazz” (Crown Archetype Books/Random House). The book, as well as some of Hersch’s CDs, will be for sale in the Lensic’s lobby.
“The book kind of happened organically,” says Hersch. “A number of people suggested I write a book, and I thought it would be a good idea to write it while I can still remember everything. It felt like the right time to tell my story. I’ve been through a lot of stuff.”
“Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In and Out of Jazz” communicates Hersch’s life as an openly gay, HIV-positive jazz player who was in a coma for two months in 2007. When he woke up, he was unable to walk, eat, swallow or play the piano.
I’m doing great,” Hersch says. “I’m feeling better now than I did 20 years ago.”