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The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS -

FRED HERSCH Open Book ★★★★★ Pal­meto

It’s nearly ten years since pi­anist Fred Hersch was forced to re­learn his in­stru­ment (doc­u­mented in his 2011 DVD My Coma Dreams) but if any­thing, he just keeps get­ting better. Ad­mired by his fel­low mu­si­cians, revered by his for­mer stu­dents (in­clud­ing Brad Mehldau and Ethan Iver­son), still per­haps a lit­tle un­der-rated by the au­di­ence at large, Hersch is the mu­si­cian’s mu­si­cian, a deep and thought­ful artist who strikes that elu­sive bal­ance be­tween soul and skill ev­ery time he touches the key­board. This mag­nif­i­cent solo record­ing is aptly named, a rev­e­la­tory ex­pe­ri­ence, al­most in­de­cent in its emo­tional truth, and proof – if it were needed – that mu­sic, par­tic­u­larly in the hands of a poet like Hersch, can ex­press what words can­not even ap­proach. pal­metto-records.com CORMAC LARKIN

VI­JAY IYER SEXTET Far From Over ★★★★ ECM

The in­stru­men­ta­tion on Vi­jay Iyer’s fifth re­lease for Man­fred Eicher’s ECM la­bel couldn’t be more tra­di­tional – trum­pet, alto, tenor and a rhythm sec­tion is what you’ll find on Kind of Blue – but that just makes all the more im­pres­sive the fresh­ness of the in­flu­en­tial US pi­anist’s com­po­si­tions, and the free­dom and en­ergy with which his heavy­weight band bring them to life. Iyer’s sound may have been some­what aus­tere in the past, but here, the fu­ri­ous aban­don of the horns – trum­peter Gra­ham Hayne and sax­o­phon­ists Steve Lehman and Mark Shim – the funky warmth of the leader (par­tic­u­larly on elec­tric pi­ano), and the deep-in-the-pocket grooves from drum­mer Tyshawn Sorey and bassist Stephan Crump, make Far From Over one of Iyer’s most ap­proach­able re­leases yet. prop­er­mu­sic.com CORMAC LARKIN

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