Songs From Home
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If anyone is able to not only survive, but be creative during a trial, it’s pianist Fred Hersch, who composed and performed music reflecting his battle with AIDS a number of years ago. Now, with the COVID 19 lockdown, Hersch makes the best of a bad situation and delivers an album of 11 solo pieces, all in his patented Chopinesque style of bop. It’s absolutely stunning.
The material ranges from couple of his own pieces to jazz and modern pop, with Hersch in a particularly cozy mood on a parlor strut of The Beatles’ “When I’m Sixty-Four” and going a bit of ragtime on a dainty digit of “After You’ve Gone”. His nocturnal creations include a soft and fragrant “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” and an impressionistic delivery of Joni Mitchell’s “All I Want” while using space as a sound on the deeply reflective “Solitude” that is as lonely as it is alone. His own “West Virginia Rose” is wonderfully introspective and his fingers trickle over the ivories like lemonade poured over ice on “Sarabande”, taking a rural road on “Consolation (A Folk Song)” and walking along a rural road on an ambling “Wichita Lineman”. He holds you in his armchair-you can feel his disease.