Artist Gallery Photo

An Evening with Fred Hersch and esperanza spalding

Tue, Jan 24 -
Wed, Jan 25, 2023




$53.50 ($8.00 Handling Fee Included) All purchases are nonrefundable/nonexchangeable.

Tickets may be purchased on-line or by phone.
Night of show seating typically available.


Vouchers, promotional certificates, donated gift certificates, student/military discounts, senior discounts, children under 12 free discounts and 2 for 1 cards are not applicable for this show. *COVID-19 Exchange Vouchers are accepted for all shows


KNKX and Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley welcome dazzling duo, iconic pianist/composer Fred Hersch with visionary jazz vocalist/bassist esperanza spalding, two of the most acclaimed and inventive artists in modern jazz. Two nights only, three shows. Doors open at 6:00pm both nights. Show time Tuesday at 7:30pm. Show times Wednesday at 7:30pm and 9:30pm.

artist info

Pianist/composer Fred Hersch and vocalist/bassist/songwriter esperanza spalding (stylized in all lower case) can both be counted among the most acclaimed and inventive artists in modern jazz. The Village Vanguard is one of music’s most revered venues, having played host to countless legendary musicians and beloved live recordings. The duo and the club converge for a magical performance on Alive at the Village Vanguard, is a rare opportunity for listeners to enjoy the singular and thrilling collaboration between two marquee jazz artists at the top of their game.

Due out January 9, 2023 via Palmetto Records, Alive at the Village Vanguard showcases the astonishing chemistry shared by these two master musicians, who bring out distinctive aspects in each other’s playing. Hersch and spalding have convened for only a handful of New York City performances since their first meeting in 2013 during the pianist’s annual duo series at the Jazz Standard. In that limited time the pair has developed a wholly personal approach, not only in the annals of piano-voice duets but in their own already highly individual practices. Taking the stage with no set arrangements and only a vague sense of the repertoire they’ll explore, the dauntless pair delights in playing without a safety net.

“Playing with Fred feels like we’re in a sandbox,” spalding says. “He takes his devotion to the music as serious as life and death, but once we start playing, it’s just fun. I like to live on the edge in my music, but I find myself trying things that I usually wouldn’t when I play with him, finding new spaces to explore in the realm of improvised lyrics.”

Always a determined original in her own projects, spalding rarely sings standards, and her approach here is unique to her partnership with Hersch. She’s revealed on this outing as not just a phenomenal scat singer but a charming and imaginative improvisational storyteller. The Gershwins’ “But Not For Me” becomes a witty, poetic extemporization on the lyric itself, examining the changes in language represented by the original’s sometimes archaic terminology. Neal Hefti and Bobby Troup’s chauvinistic ditty “Girl Talk” comes under barbed scrutiny from not only a feminist but also an eco-conscious perspective.

“I don’t think anybody’s heard esperanza sing like this,” Hersch says. “She’s a fearless vocalist, and is one of the biggest talents I know. She’s got a huge reach in her intellectual knowledge and is a big thinker in both her projects and in her outlook.”

Fred Hersch

A select member of jazz’s piano pantheon, Fred Hersch is an influential creative force who has shaped the music’s course over more than three decades. A fifteen-time Grammy nominee, Hersch has long set the standard for expressive interpretation and inventive creativity. A revered improviser, composer, educator, bandleader, collaborator and recording artist, Hersch has been proclaimed “the most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade” by Vanity Fair, “an elegant force of musical invention” by The L.A. Times, and “a living legend” by The New Yorker. For decades Hersch has been firmly entrenched as one of the most acclaimed and captivating pianists in modern jazz, whether through his exquisite solo performances, as the leader of one of jazz’s era-defining trios, or in eloquent dialogue with his deeply attuned duo partners. His brilliant 2017 memoir, Good Things Happen Slowly, was named one of 2017’s Five Best Memoirs by the Washington Post and The New York Times.

esperanza spalding

Five-time Grammy Award-winning visionary esperanza spalding aims to ignite and portray various hues of vital human energies through composition, singing, bass playing and live performance. A lover of all music, especially improvisation-based musics emerging from black American culture, spalding’s musical aesthetic is prismatic. With projects like Radio Music Society, Chamber Music Society, Emily’s D+ Evolution and 12 Little Spells, she has inventively combined and reimagined influences from jazz, funk, rock, musical theater and beyond. She has taught at Berklee College of Music and Harvard University, founded the Songwrights Apothecary Lab, and wrote the opera ...(Iphigenia) in collaboration with Wayne Shorter.

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