Fred Hersch and Friends
Wednesday, April 10, 7PM Fred Hersch, solo piano
Thursday, April 11, 8PM Larry Goldings and Fred Hersch, pianos
Friday, April 12, 8PM Sara Gazarek, voice and Fred Hersch, piano
Saturday, April 13, 8PM Charles Lloyd, saxophone and flute and Fred Hersch, piano
For more than 10 years, pianist Fred Hersch has invited a wide range of musicians to join him in duo performances at New York’s Jazz Standard. This inaugural Mondavi Center four-night run brings a distinctively West Coast sensibility to the format, finding Hersch working with a selection of artists he admires, all of whom call California home.
These performances are his first collaborations with all of these artists. Larry Goldings is his cousin and they have known each other for more than 30 years—from the time that Larry was a student at New York’s New School Jazz Program. Though he has never met Sara, he is a longtime admirer of her singing. And Charles Lloyd has long been on Hersch’s “bucket list” of musicians he wants to play with—he thinks he’s one of the last of the authentic, master jazz artists still with us.
Fred Hersch has remained committed to exploring the possibilities and limits of solo piano improvisation. A solo performance by Hersch is an elegant, pensive and playful invitation to explore the possibilities of both the instrument and the song. In the liner notes for his most recent solo release, Open Book, Hersch notes “each performance becomes a continuous musical expression from variation to variation—musical freedom within limits, with a song that I love as my subject.”
Long acclaimed as a master of the organ, particularly for his trio with Peter Bernstein and Bill Stewart, Larry Goldings has built a remarkable career as a composer, songwriter, producer and instrumentalist. In demand with artists like Pat Metheny, Elton John and Sia, Goldings has also contributed compositions to numerous movie and TV soundtracks, including Space Cowboys, NBC’s The Office and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Here he joins in a piano duo format with Hersch, who was one of his teachers in his formative New York years.
Blessed with a gorgeous voice, excellent pitch and a supple sense of time, Sara Gazarek is a singer of uncommon depth and intelligence. Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “the next important jazz singer”, her reverence for songcraft and emotional directness carry listeners inside her repertoire, revealing shades of vulnerability and strength. Her recent duo recording with longtime pianist Josh Nelson, Dream in the Blue, hints at some of the magic we expect to hear with Hersch in Gazarek’s Mondavi Center debut. Gazarek is currently on faculty at the University of Southern California, where she leads the award-winning vocal jazz ensemble and teaches privately.
A true jazz legend, Charles Lloyd was born in Memphis, Tennessee, where he began his musical career with a who’s who of blues and jazz legends, B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Bobbie “Blue” Bland, piano genius Phineas Newborn and Willie Mitchell among others. Lloyd went to Los Angeles to study at USC where stints with Gerald Wilson’s big band, Chico Hamilton, and Cannonball Adderly led to leading his own quartet, which featured Keith Jarrett, Cecil McBee and Jack DeJohnette. The group was the first jazz group to play The Fillmore and Lloyd’s album, Forest Flower, Live at Monterey, was a huge commercial success. Following a long retreat in Big Sur, Lloyd returned to playing regularly in the 1990s, and has released a remarkable string of recordings on ECM and Blue Note Records that document his continued musical explorations. Do not miss an exceedingly rare chance to see two jazz masters in musical conversation in the intimate confines of the Vanderhoef Studio Theatre.