This is an unusual set. Pianist Fred Hersch explores music by Mussorgsky, Gliere, Scriabin, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakoff, Liadov and Rachmaninoff, performing jazz improvisations while being respectful to the original themes. With the assistance of bassist Steve La Spina, drummer Jeff Hershfield and (on various tracks) flutist James Newton, Toots Thielemans on harmonica, altoist Phil Woods (also heard on clarinet) and cellist Erik Frieldander, Hersch brings out some unexpected beauty in the melodies. This CD is a follow-up to a 1989 disc (Jazz Impressions) on which Hersch and a similar group played their interpretations of themes by French (rather than Russian) classical composers.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow