Fred Hersch Trio
Alive at the VanguardPalmetto ****
If the piano trio has a spiritual home, it’s the Village Vanguard, the fabled basement in lower Manhattan. This is where Bill Evans set the standard for the trio format, both in terms of the interplay between the musicians and the intensity of emotion that is attained by a pianist in total command of his instrument and its possibilities. Fred Hersch is a worthy inheritor of that tradition, a poet of the keyboard with an unerring ability to get inside a tune and reveal its secrets. This atmospheric live recording, culled from a week- long residency, features Hersch’s regular trio of bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson exploring a mix of Hersch originals, songbook standards, and jazz classics. Over two CDs it captures a supremely gifted trio in full and joyous flight, attuned to every nuance in the music, conscious of, but not constrained by, the ghosts that haunt the stage.