This last Saturday had the great privilege of going to the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco to see Fred Hersch and his Pocket Orchestra. Many of you who know me personally know that I enjoy jazz music and my friend Ray and I get out about every other weekend to try and soak up some of the jazz culture in San Francisco.
Fred Hersch was great! His style of jazz was refreshing and did not disappoint. He had a quartet, but not in the traditional sense. He was on piano, Ralph Alessi was on trumpet and flugelhorn, Richie Barshay on percussion, and Jo Lawry with her voice. No bass. Even the solos were non-traditional. The most common style of jazz is the cookie cutter style where a quartet starts a song with a melody and then they take turns playing solos and then finish up with the melody again. This can be fun, but it can also be heard anywhere. Hersch broke this and blended each solo into the next not leaving an obvious break where the next performer should come in. The audience was left wondering when and if they should clap after a solo. I was happy that most of the time they crowd did not clap.
All the musicians where great. Each with their own style and great talent brought to the table to wow everyone. The two songs of note that I enjoyed was a song called “Firefly” and the other was “The Paparazzi”.