Two pianists famed for their touch and lyricism, Fred Hersch and the late Bill Evans, have new releases coming. Hersch’s brand-new solo album, Open Book, available September 8, provides a musical complement to his memoir, Good Things Happen Slowly, which will see bookstores on September 12. The tapes of the Bill Evans release, Another Time: The Hilversum Concert, surfaced only last fall. Recorded in the Netherlands on June 22, 1968, and available September 1, the album is only the third known recording of the short-lived and very distinctive trio featuring Eddie Gomez on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums. Vijay Iyer’s reputation rests on an intellectual rigor married to a passionate and progressive heart, along with serious chops, and his new sextet release, Far from Over (available August 25), manages to be invigorating, complex, and accessible all at once. Continue reading
I can’t hardly believe it’s been a month, dear reader, since we last met. In the interim, I traveled back east to visit my mom and then up to New York to hang with friends old and new. While in the city, I trekked out to Brooklyn on the F train for a concert at iBeam, a musician’s cooperative in Gowanus. The program featured three piano duos—Carol Liebowitz with saxophonist Nick Lyons, Kazzrie Jaxen with guitarist Adam Caine, and Virg Dzurinko with trumpeter Ryan Messina—and it was a night to remember. More than any other medium, music for me has the capacity to open doors deep in the psyche, and at iBeam that night, doors were swinging open left and right.
Which brings me to today’s subjects: Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, and Omar Sosa. Each of them has keys to those doors, and each is the subject of a film worth seeing and supporting. Continue reading