The idea that one can drive a few miles down I-95 on Friday and/or Saturday and see jazz pianist Fred Hersch in the Old Lyme Inn's intimate and acoustically superior Side Door jazz club is rather astonishing.
A five-time Grammy nominee, Hersch is equally at home with solo improvisation or ensemble work (from trios to large band). As a composer, he can explode the sky-high boundaries of jazz or spin out exquisite balladry. Conceptually, Hersch has scored pieces to accompany spoken word recitation of Walt Whitman and written a multi-media theatrical production inspired by his own awakening after a two-month coma.
His latest release, "The Fred Hersch Trio Live at the Village Vanguard," received the esteemed France's Grand Prix du Disque from the Académie Charles Cros and was also named one of the Best CDs of 2012 by Downbeat Magazine.
Whether you are particularly a jazz fan or you just consider it a privilege to watch someone who's among the very best in the world at what they do, head to the Old Lyme Inn this weekend and catch Hersch in these solo performances.
- RICK KOSTER
Fred Hersch, 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, the Side Door, Old Lyme Inn, 85 Lyme Street, Old Lyme; $40; (860) 434-2600, thesidedoorjazz.com