Friday, July 18, 2014

Fred Hersch and Julian Lage, Free Flying

If you follow the contemporary jazz scene you are probably familiar with pianist Fred Hersch, since he has been doing some very exciting work. You may be less familiar with guitarist Julian Lage. But in fact Julian is in many ways Hersch's equivalent and equal as the "complete" contemporary jazz guitarist.

So it was a fortunate gathering when the two got together to make an album, Free Flying (Palmetto 2168). These are Hersch compositional vehicles, very good ones, with the exception of Sam Rivers' classic "Beatrice" and Thelonious' "Monk's Dream". The twosome are caught live in a NYC club Jazz at Kitano and that adds to the energy and spontaneity it would seem.

They both are on a roll here, both individually and as a group. Julian Lage can spin original and complex lines on changes with the best of them, in an original way no less, and then can get subtle and nuanced in the quieter balladic moments.

Fred Hersch is in every way himself here and so the two get quite a rapport and make for an every-moment-counts set. It's rather wonderful.

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