Fred Hersch

Dancing in the Dark

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Fred Hersch and his bandmates interpret 11 standards on their fine album, Dancing in the Dark. Hersch is a lyrical player who possesses a light touch and a sophisticated sense of style. His playing is unmistakably influenced by Bill Evans, and his trio work is marked by some of the characteristics that made Evans' best trios so memorable: cohesive, "whole is greater than the sum of its parts," musical communication. Drew Gress (bass) and Tom Rainey (drums) are outstanding throughout these 70 minutes and their efforts become even more apparent with repeated listenings. The best tracks on Dancing in the Dark happen to also be the least well known; the brisk "So in Love," the delicate, solo vehicle "If I Should Lose You," the soft, orchestral "Wild Is the Wind," and the bright, swinging title piece. Though he occasionally takes a dissonant, avant-garde approach ("Out of Nowhere"), it is clearly not his most effective style. Hersch is at is best when he "sings" on the piano and his ballad playing is consistently first rate. This is a quality album, branded by excellent trio playing and tasteful interpretations of the standard repertoire.

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