Fred Hersch Trio
with Special Guest Anat Cohen
A New York Times Sunday Magazine feature describes pianist and composer Fred Hersch as “singular among the trailblazers of their art, a largely unsung innovator of this borderless, individualistic jazz—a jazz for the twenty-first century.” A writer for Vanity Fair calls him “the most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade.” The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation awarded Hersch one of its 2016 grants of $275,000 as an investment in and celebration of his ongoing contributions to the arts. The pianist makes his Center for the Performing Arts debut as a leader with his drummer-bassist trio, “one of the major ensembles of our time” (The Wall Street Journal), plus gifted clarinetist/saxophonist Anat Cohen.
“One of the small handful of brilliant musicians of his generation” (DownBeat), Hersch is an artist of immense imagination and ambition. His solo and ensemble recordings have received a total of ten Grammy nominations. Sunday Night at the Vanguard, the trio’s 2016 release, was nominated for Best Instrumental Jazz Album. “We See,” a track from the album, was nominated for Best Improvised Jazz Solo. The 2014 trio album, Floating, was nominated for two Grammys. Free Flying, a 2013 duet recording with guitarist Julian Lage, was nominated for another.
In all, Hersch has released more than three dozen albums as a leader and a co-leader. He and a variety of other artists have recorded more than ninety of his compositions. Hersch has influenced a generation of jazz pianists, including former students Brad Mehldau and Ethan Iverson. “Fred at the piano is like LeBron James on the basketball court,” says his colleague Jason Moran. “He’s perfection.”
Widely regarded as the most talented clarinetist in jazz, Cohen has won hearts across the world with her expressive virtuosity and enthusiastic stage presence. The Israeli-born musician, voted Jazz Journalists Association Clarinetist of the Year eight years in a row, has performed twice at Penn State. She was a featured soloist in DIVA Jazz Orchestra at Eisenhower Auditorium in 2007, and she fronted her quartet at Schwab Auditorium in 2011. Luminosa, her seventh album as a bandleader, was released in 2015 and features originals, Brazilian classics, and more. “The lyric beauty of her tone, easy fluidity of her technique, and extroverted manner of her delivery make this music accessible to all,” writes a Chicago Tribune reviewer.
Artistic Viewpoints will not be offered before the concert.