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Fred Hersch Solo Concert at Mapo Art Center in Seoul, South Korea - review by Yujin Lim

Fred Hersch Solo Concert at Mapo Art Center in Seoul, South Korea - review by Yujin Lim

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Published by getintojazz
Jazz pianist Yujin Lim reviews the first solo concert performed by Fred Hersch in Korea. Published in the May 2013 issue of THE MOVE
Jazz pianist Yujin Lim reviews the first solo concert performed by Fred Hersch in Korea. Published in the May 2013 issue of THE MOVE

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categoriesTopics, Art & Design
Published by: getintojazz on May 22, 2013
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07/14/2013

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Classical Influence on the Musical Story of Fred HerschHis First Solo Concert in Koreaby Yujin LimReview of Fred Hersch at Mapo Art Center, Seoul, South Korea April 21, 2013Published in the May 2013 issue of
 
The Move 
Solo performances can be uncomfortable for jazz pianists who play most frequently withthe support of a rhythm section in trio or quartet settings. Solo ballad playing maypresent an even greater challenge. However no difficulties or limitations were apparentin the solo performances of Fred Hersch during his April 21 concert in Seoul.Hersch approached this performance like a master story teller who keeps his audiencefully engaged every moment. The solo setting is perhaps the best vehicle for revealingthe experience and background of the performer. Although I am familiar with Hersch
ʼ
sbiography and discography through published interviews and articles, today I wasdeeply touched in a personal way by his performance.Hersch began the concert with the Dizzy Gillespie classic “Con Alma” and “Monk
ʼ
sDream” by Thelonious Monk. Both received beautifully delicate readings by Hersch.Throughout the performance he demonstrated his expertise through various rhythmicdevices and imaginative arrangements. I was moved by his sincere desire tocommunicate with the Korean audience through his music.The New York Times has referred to Fred Hersch as a lesser-known 21
st
Century jazzinnovator. I first encountered him in his role as a jazz educator in New York. He recentlyspoke about his teaching philosophy in an American magazine article. Regarding therole of lessons in his own development he said “I never took a jazz piano lesson, what Iplay is mine.” However, he did acknowledge that he practiced from both the Omni Book(Charlie Parker transcriptions) and Bach
ʼ
s 371 Chorales.When I studied jazz in America, there was not a boundary between jazz and classicalmusic. That was very impressive to me. There may be different points of view about therelationship between jazz and classical music but it
ʼ
s undeniable that the harmonicbasis of jazz is rooted in the European classical tradition. For example, many jazzmusicians like Miles Davis or Bill Evans were educated in classical music and theystudied it carefully and continuously. Twelve Tone Tune by Bill Evans is an excellentexample of classical influence.In the past Fred Hersch has recorded albums that were focused on classical music. Atthe Seoul concert he played an original piece deeply influenced by Schumann, clearingdemonstrating his integration of both idioms. His classical background was also evident

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