Tag Archives: piano

Interview: Fred Hersch In Paris

How is it for you to come play in Paris?

I love playing in Paris I wish this time I had more time. The last time I was playing at La Villette, Cité de la Musique, big concert. Playing at the Duc des Lombards is nice but it’s not a 9-foot Steinway in a beautiful concert hall,  it’s a different experience. I’ve been coming to Paris for years, since I was a teenager. My very first European tour, we spent a lot of time in Paris in 1979. So I’ve been trying to make Paris a place to play. It’s interesting,  I’ve gotten a lot of awards, Grand Prix du disque etc. But there are so many French pianists that it’s very hard to get in to France. But I think I have some big festivals coming up, Coutance [Jazz sous les Pommiers], and maybe Nice and some other ones that will come next week. So I think my visibility is starting to go up a little bit, so that’s good.

Do you prepare your sets?

No. I just get up there and play.

Do you remember a specific jazz record that was the first one to click for you ?

Yeah, I heard some jazz in high school. I mean I was a piano player so I had a Dave Brubeck album and a Ramsey Lewis album, some albums I picked at yard sales for 25c. But once I started playing I thought ‘ok this is something maybe I can do’ and started inching my way into being a jazz pianist. The records that really sold me, there were three of them : one was Miles Davis’ Friday and Saturday night at the Blackhawk.  Wynton [Kelly]’s playing is so great, the way he plays with Miles… And I love the sound of the album, you feel like you’re in the club and it’s very nice. Then there was a Mingus album, Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus, with orchestrations and everything that is just so remarkable. And then an album by Ellington called Ellington Uptown. But particularly the Miles record really made me wanna say ‘okay, I can do this. I know I can do this. I’m gonna commit myself.’ I dropped out of school, started playing in clubs and really went for it. After I heard that.

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16 year-old Georgian pianist shakes the jazz scene

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You may not be able to retain or pronounce his name, but you sure will remember this young man’s playing. This is Beka Gochiashvili, a 16 year-old pianist from Tbilisi, in Georgia. If the jazz scene has welcomed and put under the spotlight new artists from more and more different countries, the small country of Eastern Europe is not known for providing many jazz virtuosi.

Well here is one for you. At 16 years old, Beka has already asserted himself in the jazz world as a great upcoming pianist, and we will probably be hearing about him more and more as things go on. The young pianist started playing at 2 years old, and was quick to get on stage, playing in Tbilisi jazz clubs at age 9, with influences such as Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. Since then, his career has known success after success, going from being a semifinalist at the Monk Piano Competition in 2011 to recording his first album in 2012, and developing a strong musical relationship with pianist Chick Corea.

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Beka received praise from many of today’s jazz giants, mainly from Corea who called him “the best ambassador for Georgia’s culture,” Keith Jarrett’s legendary trio’s bassist Gary Peacock said of him that he was a “very fine young pianist with a lot of future promise.” Bassist Stanley Clarke said Beka’s story was “the best debut of a young musician since Tony Williams with Miles Davis

Watch Chick Corea introduce the young Georgian pianist and sit down on the piano with him at the Tbilisi Jazz Festival in 2012. The video shows them play Corea’s famous hit Spain, Monk’s Straight, No Chaser, and Kenny Dorham’s Blue Bossa.