Free Flying: Fred Hersch and Julian Lage Live CD reviewed by Stanley Fefferman

hersclageFred Hersch and Julian Lage. Free Flying. PALMETTO. 

Picture this: water flowing down stairs. That’s what you get when you dig these duets from Julian Lage’s guitar running together with the piano of Fred Hersch. The changes are round at the corners but the angles also are edged. It’s a combination to make you smile, like ice cream and hot chocolate sauce. Depending on how you listen, you can hear the counterpoint of a fugue by Bach, minimalist Fripp riffs, or ballads swinging virtuosic echoes of “Lady Be Good,” and “I Wish I Were in Love Again,” but these melodies are broken to bits, flying free as fragments from the forms they rise out of like the cubist planes of Picasso’s “Girl With Mandolin”, or his “Accordionist”. The work evolved of from live gigs Hersch and Lage have been doing together for the past couple of years. The setlist includes half a dozen tunes by Hersch and a couple of standards—Sam Rivers’ “Beatrice,” and Thelonius’ “Monk’s Dream. 9 tracks in all, just recorded live at Kitano in New York. Do yourself a favour. Listen.


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