Floating announces the return of the Fred Hersch Trio to the studio and that the great American piano trio is alive and well. A superb effort!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Fred Hersch loves melody but it is the master of the tweak, harmonic manipulation that plays upon a cerebral direction that you initially did not expect. Melodies are not mangled but artfully deconstructed while losing nothing in authenticity, it is the artistic intent and vision that allows Hersch to venture into what others might consider shark infested lyrical waters. When you have what may be arguably the finest rhythm section in improvisational music, the job would seem to be easier at first glance.
Opening the release we find the syncopated pop of a magnificently arranged "You The Night And The Music." Hersch is a brilliant two handed performer and the rhythm section supplies the subtle yet vital nuances necessary to take this classic to the next level. The dialed down "West Virgina Rose" is an exquisite number where again the trio is communicating as one harmonic train of thought. The NOLA type swing of "Home Fries" breaks up the ebb and flow without jumping the harmonic track while confirming Fred Hersch can indeed play anything. Meters are changed at will, dynamics are altered on the fly yet the swing remains...Magnificent. "Arcata" shows off the ensemble strength with a Cuban flair anchored by the lyrical tenacity of bassist John Hebert. Drummer Eric McPherson gives a technical master class with each tune with the intangible being the finesse that one either has or they do not. Much like swing, you feel it or you do not.
Very little needs to be said concerning Floating, the finest Fred Hersch studio release thus far.
You never "review" genius...You celebrate it. I was honored to have the chance to interview Fred Hersch. I learned a great deal about his craft, I learned even more about mine...Thank you.
Tracks: You And The Night And The Music; Floating; West Virginia Rose; Home Fries; Far Away; Arcata; A Speech To The Sea; Autumn Haze; If Ever I Would Leave You; Let's Cool One.
Personnel: Fred Hersch: Piano; John Hebert: Bass; Eric McPherson: Drums.