Fred Hersch Trio

Fred Hersch, piano
John Hébert, bass
Eric McPherson, drums

Saturday, February 27, 2016
Herbst Theatre

“One of the major ensembles of our times.”

—The Wall Street Journal

Fred Hersch Trio: Rain Waltz


Program to be announced.

Valentine (solo piano)

About This Performance

“The most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade” according to Vanity Fair, Fred Hersch has made San Francisco Performances his second home for over 20 years. For this concert he returns to the trio format for SFP for the first time since 1996. The Trio’s recent recording Floating was nominated for two 2014 Grammy Awards and was dubbed, “an extravagantly beautiful new album” by The New York Times.

Artist Biography

This is the fifth edition of the Fred Hersch Trio since its inception in 1985. According to The New Yorker, the trio plays with “high lyricism and high danger” and the Wall Street Journal calls it “one of the major ensembles of our time.” Fred, John and Eric started playing together in 2009 and have released three CDs: Whirl (2010); Alive at the Vanguard (2012), which received a 4-1/2 Star rating in Downbeat; and this year’s CD Floating (Palmetto) which features seven new Hersch compositions as well as music by Lerner/Loewe, Dietz/Schwartz and Thelonious Monk. Floating was nominated for two 2015 Grammy® Awards and reached #1 on iTunes Jazz, #2 on Amazon Jazz and #5 on the Billboard Jazz sales charts. The New York Times’ Nate Chinen said that “Mr. Hersch has been making acclaimed trio releases since his debut album as a leader, 30 years ago. He hasn’t made one better than this.” They have toured extensively in both Europe and the US to wide acclaim including festival appearances at Newport and Monterey. John and Eric served as legendary pianist Andrew Hill’s final rhythm section and have a long history of playing together.

As a solo pianist, composer, bandleader, and theatrical conceptualist, 8-time Grammy nominee Fred Hersch lives up to the praise of the New York Times, who, in a featured Sunday Magazine piece, aptly declared him, “singular among the trailblazers of their art, a largely unsung innovator of this borderless, individualistic jazz—a jazz for the 21st century.” Recently, Hersch was proclaimed by Vanity Fair magazine, “the most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade or so”. Hersch balances his internationally recognized instrumental skills with significant achievements as a composer, bandleader, and theatrical conceptualist, as well as remaining an in-demand collaborator with other noted bandleaders and vocalists. His sixth Grammy nomination, in 2014, was for Best Improvised Solo on a track from Free Flying, his widely praised duo recording with young guitarist Julian Lage.

With three-dozen recordings as a leader/co-leader, and numerous awards including a 2003 Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship and being awarded 2011 Jazz Pianist of the Year by The Jazz Journalists Association, Hersch is among the most admired of contemporary jazz musicians, having collaborated with an astonishing range of instrumentalists and vocalists throughout worlds of jazz (including Joe Henderson, Art Farmer, Charlie Haden, Art Farmer, Stan Getz and Bill Frisell); classical (Renée Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, Christopher O'Riley); and Broadway (Audra McDonald). Hersch has been an obvious influence on a new generation of pianists including former Hersch students Brad Mehldau and Ethan Iverson (of The Bad Plus) and remains an in-demand collaborator with other noted bandleaders and vocalists. He is also the first artist in the 75-year history of New York’s legendary Village Vanguard to play weeklong engagements as a solo pianist. In 2004, Hersch created a concert setting of the poetry of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass for vocalists Kurt Elling, Kate McGarry and an instrumental octet. In 2011 he mounted the ambitious 2011 production, My Coma Dreams, a critically-acclaimed full-evening multimedia work.

John Hébert, bassist, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana where he attended Loyola University of New Orleans on a full scholarship. He moved to the New York area in 1993 and has established himself as a highly sought-after bassist. He has worked alongside world famous artists such as Andrew Hill, Lee Konitz, Paul Bley, John Abercrombie, Kenny Wheeler, Paul Motian, Joe Maneri, Mary Halvorson, Tomasz Stanko, David Liebman, Fred Hersch, Uri Caine, Greg Osby, and many others. In recent years, he has taken on the role of bandleader of various projects. His group Byzantine Monkey released their first CD in June 2009 on the Firehouse 12 label. It was reviewed in Downbeat and received 4 stars. In 2010, The John Hébert Trio (with French pianist Benoit Delbecq and drummer Gerald Cleaver) released Spiritual Lover on the Clean Feed label to very positive reviews. John won the 2011 Downbeat Critic’s poll as “Rising Star Acoustic Bassist” as well as receiving a French/American Jazz Exchange Grant for his work with this band. The follow-up CD to this recording, Floodstage, was released in January of 2014; this project has gained widespread critical acclaim. 2015 saw the latest release by Hébert on the Sunnyside record label—Rambling Confessions. It features vocalist Jen Shyu, pianist Andy Milne and drummer Billy Drummond. The record has received great reviews including 4.5 star-rating in Downbeat.

A native of New York city, Eric McPherson began studying with master drummer Michael Carvin at age 12. He attended La Guardia H.S. for Music and Arts under the instruction of Justin DiCioccio; he would go on to study with alto legend Jackie McLean at the university of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music. While still a student, Eric came to international prominence playing professionally and recording with this extraordinary saxophonist and educator. He would later go on to work and record with the innovative pianist and composer Andrew Hill. Learning from these seminal figures, Eric has developed a highly personal and creative approach to music.

Over the course of the past 25 years, Eric has produced, recorded, engineered and toured all over the world with his own projects and collaborations as well as working with a wide array of today's leading contemporary creative musicians currently including Ray Anderson and David Virelles. An educator himself, Eric continues the legacy left to him whether teaching private students, conducting masterclasses or workshops around the world. He is also on the Jazz Studies Faculty at the University of Hartford/Jackie Mclean Institute and at The New School in NYC.