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Fred Hersch, Senior Statesman of Jazz

David Bartolomi
Pianist Fred Hersch

Fred Hersch started life as a classical musician, until jazz found him. As WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports the acclaimed pianist is nominated for two Grammy awards for his latest CD.

Hersch began playing chamber music while attending Grinnell College. This, he says, taught him the joy of interacting in the moment with musicians.  At the same time, he became curious about jazz, started going to clubs and becoming more familiar with the standards. In particular, it was his curiosity about a particular French popular song by the Hungarian-French composer Joseph Kosma, with English lyrics by Johnny Mercer, that would be instrumental in kick-starting a new phase in his musical life.

Fred Hersch is nominated for two 2014 Grammy Awards, for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance for title track of the CD, Floating, and for Best Improvised Jazz Solo for "You & The Night & The Music" from that CD. The Grammy awards ceremony is February 8th in Los Angeles.

Listen to Fred Hersch performing his composition, "Pastorale" in the WRTI studios.