****RINGER OF THE WEEK****Fred Hersch and Julian Lage: Free Flying

What is it about Fred Hersch?!? It seems like every time the pianist puts something out, it’s a) different than what he’s done before and b) ends up on my RINGER OF THE WEEK list. The guy’s done it again! This time, it’s a duet set with up and coming guitarist Julian Lage who seems to have already arrived. The two mix some Hersch originals with a few surprises, and they all work to sublime joy. Hersch’s touch has gotten more personal and rich lately, and he sound marvelous on “Song Without Words #4 Duet” and Sam Rivers’ “Beatrice.” The interplay between the two is sublime, sympathetic but without being overly deferential, as Lage lays down some nice soloing on “Free Flying” and Jim Hall’s “Stealthiness.” Even “Monk’s Dream” feels like it’s being played in a way that would make the composer happy, with a jovial bounce that can only be caught, not taught, while “Gravity’s Pull” exposes intriguing lights and textures by both artists. If you’re a sucker for duet sessions, and I am, you’ll be keeping this one for a long time. Definitely on the short list for album of the year.

Palmetto Records



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