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  • Moving Pictures Moving Pictures Quick View

    $29.99
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    Moving Pictures

    200 Gram Vinyl


    Remastered From Original Analogue Masters


    Moving Pictures is the eighth studio album by Canadian rock band Rush. Moving Pictures became the band's biggest selling album in the US rising to #3 on the Billboard charts and remains the band's most popular and commercially successful studio recording to date.

    1. Tom Sawyer
    2. Red Barchetta
    3. YYZ
    4. Limelight
    5. The Camera Eye
    6. Witch Hunt (Part III of Fear)
    7. Vital Signs
    Rush
    $29.99
    200 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
  • Moving Pictures: Live 2011 Moving Pictures: Live 2011 Quick View

    $15.99
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    Moving Pictures: Live 2011

    Moving Pictures: Live 2011 is a special collectors release which captures Rush performing their classic 1981 album in its entirely. Here on 180 gram vinyl with brand new artwork.


    Moving Pictures was Rush's eighth studio release and most successful album to date. Certified four-times platinum, the album features some of the band's most well known material and perennial radio favorites including Tom Sawyer, Limelight and the Grammy-nominated instrumental YYZ.

    1. Tom Sawyer
    2. Red Barchetta
    3. YYZ
    4. Limelight
    5. The Camera Eye
    6. Witch Hunt
    7. Vital Signs
    Rush
    $15.99
    180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
  • Hold Your Fire Hold Your Fire Quick View

    $29.99
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    Hold Your Fire

    200 Gram Vinyl


    Remastered At Abbey Road Studios Using The Direct To Metal Mastering Audiophile Copper Plating Process, All From Original Analogue Masters


    Hold Your Fire is an album in the purest sense; infinitely greater than the sum of its parts, it gradually draws in the listener by slowly revealing its nuances and secrets. While the use of keyboards is still overwhelming at times, Geddy Lee employs lush textures which, when coupled with a greater rhythmic and melodic presence from guitarist Alex Lifeson, results in a far warmer sound than in recent efforts. Of course, drummer Neil Peart is as inventive and exciting as ever, while his lyrics focus on the various elements (earth, air, water, fire) for much of the album. Opener Force Ten is the band's most immediate number in years, and other early favorites such as Time Stand Still and Turn the Page soon give way to the darker mysteries of Prime Mover and Tai Shan. The multifaceted Lock and Key is quintessential Rush, and sets the stage for the album's climax with the sheer beauty of Mission. As was the case with 1976's 2112 and 1981's Moving Pictures, Rush always seem to produce some of their best work at the end of each four-album cycle, and Hold Your Fire is no exception.

    1. Force Ten

    2. Time Stand Still

    3. Open Secrets
    4. Second Nature
    5. Prime Mover
    6. Lock And Key

    7. Mission

    8. Turn The Page

    9. Tai Shan

    10. High Water
    Rush
    $29.99
    200 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
  • Exit...Stage Left Exit...Stage Left Quick View

    $38.99
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    Exit...Stage Left

    200 Gram Vinyl


    Remastered From Original Analogue Masters


    A 2LP live album recorded during the Moving Pictures tour at the Montreal Forum and in Glasgow, Scotland.

    LP1
    1. The Spirit Of Radio
    2. Red Barchetta
    3. YYZ
    4. A Passage To Bangkok
    5. Closer To The Heart
    6. Beneath, Between & Behind
    7. Jacob's Ladder


    LP2
    1. Broon's Bane
    2. The Trees
    3. Xanadu
    4. Freewill
    5. Tom Sawyer
    6. La Villa Strangiato

    Rush
    $38.99
    200 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
  • The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Plays The Music Of Rush The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Plays The Music Of Rush Quick View

    $18.99
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    The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Plays The Music Of Rush

    Purple Pyramid Records, a division of Cleopatra Records, will release The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Plays The Music Of Rush on November 13. Nearly sixty musicians and thirty vocalists transform nine of Rush's greatest hits into even more intricate, soaring orchestral works.


    The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra covers the best-known classics, from Working Man, the self-titled debut album track that launched Rush's career in the U.S. to Subdivisions from Signals, the album that proved electronic rock could reside in the top ten. The band's most successful record, Moving Pictures, is represented by rousing versions of Tom Sawyer and Red Barchetta. Special guest guitarists include Steve Rothery of Marillion on Working Man and Adrian Smith of Iron Maiden on Red Barchetta. The Windrush Choir provides backing vocals and solos.


    The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, formed in 1946 and based in London, has been called the nation's favorite orchestra. It has had internationally known maestros like Andre Previn and Louis Clark, and has toured the world. The RPO is a best-selling and adventurous recording entity as well. In 1969, it recorded a concerto for Deep Purple, composed by the band's organist Jon Lord. It earned a top ten U.S. single in 1982 with Hooked On Classics. Over the years, RPO has orchestrally arranged Pink Floyd, Oasis, Queen, R.E.M., Madonna and ABBA.


    The orchestra was recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London, conducted by BAFTA Award-winning musician and composer Richard Harvey. Harvey performed with the prog rock group Gryphon and as an accomplished multi-instrumentalist (specializing in mediaeval and Renaissance periods), worked with many folk and rock musicians such as Richard and Linda Thompson, Kate Bush and Sweet. He has toured and recorded with John Williams, and has performed and composed film/TV soundtracks for more than thirty years. The album was produced by James Graydon and Richard Cottle, who also arranged all the music.

    1. 2112 Overture
    2. The Spirit Of Radio
    3. Tom Sawyer
    4. Red Barchetta (feat. Adrian Smith)
    5. Subdivisions
    6. Fly By Night
    7. Closer To The Heart
    8. Limelight
    9. Working Man (feat. Steve Rothery)
    Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    $18.99
    Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
  • Test For Echo Test For Echo Quick View

    $34.99
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    Test For Echo

    200 Gram Vinyl LP


    Features Etched Designs on Side D of the Album


    Test for Echo is the sixteenth studio album by Canadian rock band Rush, released in 1996. It marks the final Rush work prior to the tragic events in Neil Peart's life that put the band on hiatus for several years. He recorded a majority of his drum tracks for the album using traditional grip, after receiving drum lessons from jazz instructor Freddie Gruber.


    After flirting with alternative rock on Counterparts, Rush returns to classic progressive rock on Test for Echo. Cutting back many of the AOR production flourishes that hampered most of their late-'80s and early-'90s releases, the band concentrates on the sounds and styles that made albums like Moving Pictures huge successes in the late '70s and early '80s. Test for Echo is all instrumental gymnastics and convoluted song structures, all of which demonstrate each member's skills. And the key to the album is the individual performances.


    The title track reached #1 on the mainstream rock chart. Driven became a bass showcase for Geddy Lee during live performances, while Resist was rearranged as an acoustic song on the Vapor Trails and R30 tours. Since then, the band has not performed any tracks from the album in concert.

    1. Test For Echo
    2. Driven
    3. Half The World
    4. The Color Of Right
    5. Time And Motion
    6. Totem
    7. Dog Years
    8. Virtuality
    9. Resist
    10. Limbo
    11. Carve Away The Stone
    Rush
    $34.99
    200 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
  • Timeless Wavelength Timeless Wavelength Quick View

    $32.99
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    Timeless Wavelength


    Double 140g Vinyl LP In A Gatefold Sleeve


    Recorded Live At Kiel Auditorium, St Louis, Missouri, Usa, February 12, 1980


    Mastered At Abbey Road Studios, London


    Timeless Wavelength is a high quality vinyl-only 1980 double live set from one of the
    biggest rock groups in history, recorded live at Kiel Auditorium, St Louis, Missouri, USA, February 12, 1980.


    Rush are Canada's biggest rock export, with millions of sales of their nineteen studio albums recorded between 1974 and the present day.
    Formed in Toronto at the end of the 1960s, it was their second album Fly By Night which saw drummer Neil Peart join forces with singer / bass player Geddy Lee and guitar gunslinger Alex Lifeson on the path to rockstardom. Which came in 1976 with their fourth album 2112, the sci fi concept piece that fills side one being performed on Timeless Wavelenth in its entirety.


    Rush hit the charts with 1980 smash The Spirit Of Radio from the album Permanent Waves (that year's tour is when Timeless Wavelength was recorded).
    The following year saw the biggest album of their career, Moving Pictures (including the hit Tom Sawyer).
    Since then they have sustained their position as one of rock's biggest bands, with millions of tickets, records and t-shirts sold -- even the kids in South Park (led by superfan Cartman) are in a Rush tribute band.

    LP 1
    1. 2112
    2. By-Tor And The Snow Dog
    3. Xanadu
    4. The Spirit Of Radio


    LP 2
    1. Natural Science
    2. Beneath Between and Behind
    3. Working Man
    4. Finding My Way / Anthem
    5. Bastille Day
    6. In The Mood / drum solo
    7. La Villa Strangiato

    Rush
    $32.99
    140 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
  • Vapor Trails Vapor Trails Quick View

    $29.99
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    Vapor Trails

    2013's celebration of Rush continues with the highly anticipated release of a remixed version of the band 2002's album VAPOR TRAILS. In 2009, two tracks from VAPOR TRAILS (One Little Victory and Earthshine) were remixed for the Retrospective III collection, setting fans into a frenzy in anticipation of a possible remixed version of the entire album being released one day. Four years later, that day is finally approaching.


    Vapor Trails was an album made under difficult and emotional circumstances - sort of like Rush learning how to be Rush again - and as a result, mistakes were made that we have longed to correct. David Bottrill's remixes have finally brought some justice and clarity to this deserving body of our work, says Geddy Lee.


    Every song has been given a new life, from the fire of 'One Little Victory,' 'Secret Touch,' and 'Ceiling Unlimited' to the melodic musicality of 'Sweet Miracle' and 'How It Is' these songs have been redeemed. Thank you David!


    Recently, a career-chronicling Rolling Stone feature praised the band for its continuing artistic vitality, noting that It's true that Rush doesn't mean today what it did in '76 or even '96. It may mean more. Rush's enduring pop culture relevance is perhaps best evidenced by a pair of high profile appearances - a rare national television performance and interview on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report in 2008 (the band's first TV appearance since 1975), and a pivotal role in the story line of the 2009 hit comedy, I Love You, Man, starring Paul Rudd and Jason Segal, where the band also made a memorable cameo in the film.


    Beginning with their self-titled debut album in 1974, their extraordinary body of work - which includes such formidable works as 1976's 2112, 1981's Moving Pictures, 1996's Test for Echo, 2002's Vapor Trails and the latest studio album Snakes & Arrows, made a triumphant debut on the Billboard 200 upon its initial release in 2007, entering the chart in the #3 spot. The album's success marked Rush's highest chart debut since 1993, as well as the group's eleventh top ten album in the U.S. Rush has sold more than 40 million records worldwide and garnered untold legions of devoted and admiring fans. According to the RIAA, Rush's sales statistics place Rush third behind The Beatles and The Rolling Stones for the most consecutive gold or platinum studio albums by a rock band.

    LP 1
    1. One Little Victory
    2. Ceiling Unlimited
    3. Ghost Rider
    4. Peaceable Kingdom
    5. The Stars Look Down
    6. How It Is
    7. Vapor Trail


    LP 2
    1. Secret Touch
    2. Earthshine
    3. Sweet Miracle
    4. Nocturne
    5. Freeze - Part IV of fear
    6. Out Of The Cradle

    Rush
    $29.99
    180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
  • Clockwork Angels Clockwork Angels Quick View

    $29.99
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    Clockwork Angels

    Rush's Clockwork Angels is the renowned trio's first new collection of original material in over five years and their first studio release via Anthem/Roadrunner Records.


    The recording of Clockwork Angels began in April 2010 with Grammy Award-winning producer Nick Raskulinecz - who also collaborated with the band on their last studio album, 2007's Snakes & Arrows. Rush co-produced both records. The first two songs, "Caravan" and "BU2B," were completed during that first session at Nashville's Blackbird studios and performed nightly during the wildly successful Time Machine Tour, which ran from June 2010 to June 2011. Work on Clockwork Angels resumed in the fall of 2011 at Revolution Recording in Toronto after the tour's finale, with additional strings (arranged by David Campbell) recorded at Hollywood's Ocean Way Studios in early 2012.


    Lyrically, Clockwork Angels chronicles a young man's quest across a lavish and colorful world of steampunk and alchemy as he attempts to follow his dreams. The story features lost cities, pirates, anarchists, an exotic carnival, and a rigid Watchmaker who imposes precision on every aspect of daily life. The novelization of Clockwork Angels is being written by science fiction writer Kevin J. Anderson in collaboration with Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart.


    Rush - Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart - is without question one of the most inventive and compelling groups in rock history, equally famed for both its virtuoso musicianship and provocative songwriting.


    Recently, a career-chronicling Rolling Stone feature praised the band for its continuing artistic vitality, noting that It's true that Rush doesn't mean today what it did in '76 or even '96. It may mean more. Rush's enduring pop culture relevance is perhaps best evidenced by a pair of high profile appearances - a rare national television performance and interview on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report in 2008 (the band's first TV appearance since 1975), and a pivotal role in the storyline of the 2009 hit comedy, I Love You, Man, starring Paul Rudd and Jason Segal, where the band also made a memorable cameo in the film.


    Beginning with their self-titled debut album in 1974, their extraordinary body of work - which includes such formidable works as 1976's 2112, 1981's Moving Pictures, 1996's Test for Echo, 2002's Vapor Trails and the latest studio album Snakes & Arrows, made a triumphant debut on the Billboard 200 upon its initial release in 2007, entering the chart in the #3 spot. The album's success marked Rush's highest chart debut since 1993, as well as the group's eleventh top ten album in the U.S. Rush has sold more than 40 million records worldwide and garnered untold legions of devoted and admiring fans. According to the RIAA, Rush's sales statistics place RUSH third behind The Beatles and The Rolling Stones for the most consecutive gold or platinum studio albums by a rock band.

    1. Caravan
    2. BU2B
    3. Clockwork Angels
    4. The Anarchist
    5. Carnies
    6. Halo Effect
    7. Seven Cities of Gold
    8. The Wreckers
    9. Headlong Flight
    10. BU2B2
    11. Wish Them Well
    12. The Garden
    Rush
    $29.99
    180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
  • Porcupine Meat Porcupine Meat Quick View

    $25.99
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    Porcupine Meat

    Naming one's album after a song titled "Porcupine Meat" may seem a little unusual - unless, of course, you're Bobby Rush, who earned his first gold record in 1971 with a hit entitled "Chicken Heads." He elaborates on his recent composition: "If a lady won't treat me right, but she doesn't want anyone else to have me, that is hard to digest." Hence the lyric, "too fat to eat, too lean to throw away."


    Porcupine Meat is Rush's debut release for Rounder Records, and one of the best recordings of his astonishing 60-plus year career. The album is due out September 16, 2016.
    Rush estimates that he has cut over 300 songs since he first began making music. He has been honored with three Grammy nominations, as well as ten Blues Music Awards and 41 nominations. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2006.


    Make no mistake: Rush is not your typical octogenarian. At age 82, he exudes the energy of a 20-year-old, on the road for more than 200 dates a year. His hectic tour schedule has earned him the affectionate title King of the Chitlin' Circuit. Rush has traveled the globe including Japan and Beirut. In 2007, he earned the distinction of being the first blues artist to play at the Great Wall of China. His renowned stage act features his famed shake dancers, who personify his funky blues and the ribald humor that he has cultivated during the course of his storied career.


    Born Emmet Ellis, Jr. in Homer, Louisiana, he adopted the stage name Bobby Rush out of respect for his father, a pastor. According to Rush, his parents never talked about the blues being the devil's music. "My daddy never told me to sing the blues, but he also didn't tell me to not sing the blues. I took that as a green light."


    Rush built his first guitar when he was a youngster. "I didn't know where to buy one, even if I had the money. I was a country boy," he says. After seeing a picture of a guitar in a magazine, he decided to make one by attaching the top wire of a broom to a wall and fretting it with a bottle. He also got some harmonica lessons from his father He eventually acquired a real guitar, and started playing in juke joints as a teenager, when his family briefly relocated to Little Rock, Arkansas. The fake moustache Rush wore made club owners believe he was old enough to gain entry into their establishments. While he was living in Little Rock, Rush's band, which featured Elmore James, had a residency at a nightspot called Jackrabbit.


    During the mid-1950s, Rush relocated to Chicago to pursue his musical career and make a better life for himself. It was there that he started to work with Earl Hooker, Luther Allison, and Freddie King, and sat in with many of his musical heroes, such as Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Willie Dixon, and Little Walter. Rush eventually began leading his own band in the 1960s. He also started to craft his own distinct style of funky blues, and recorded a succession of singles for a various small labels. It wasn't until the early 1970s that Rush finally scored a hit with "Chicken Heads." More recordings followed, including an album for Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff's Philadelphia International Label.
    Rush relocated one final time, to Jackson, Miss. in the early 1980s. He was tired of the cold up north, and he realized that setting up his base of operations directly in the center of the South would make it easier to perform in nearby cities on weekends. More indie label recordings followed. Songs like "Sue, A Man Can Give (But He Sure Can't Take It)," "What's Good For The Goose Is Good For The Gander Too," and" I Ain't Studdin' You" became regional jukebox favorites in juke joints throughout the region, and many of those songs are still fan favorites that are an integral part of his live repertoire.


    Since 2003, Rush has self-released the majority of his work (including the critically acclaimed Folk Funk album) on his Deep Rush label, but recently, he came to the realization that having a bigger record company behind him would be beneficial. "I outgrew myself," he says. "I need someone to help in doing the things I can't do. When you are wearing all the hats, you can't be everywhere at once."


    Enter esteemed producer and two-time Grammy winner Scott Billington, Rounder Records' longtime VP of A&R. Billington first met Rush at a Recording Academy meeting 25 years ago, and they became fast friends. He has wanted to work with Rush ever since. "He is the most vital bluesman of his generation," says Billington. He continues, "There are many people who still don't know Bobby Rush, even though he is a hero in the parallel universe of the Chitlin' Circuit - fans stop him on the street in Memphis and Helena and Little Rock."


    Porcupine Meat will not only please Rush's older fans, but is likely to win over many new ones. Billington reflects, "We wanted to come up with something fresh, while staying 100% true to Bobby."


    The album was recorded in New Orleans, and Rush was pleased and proud to be given the opportunity to make an album in his home state for the very first time. His impassioned vocals and in-the-pocket harmonica playing are among the best performances of his career. Unlike most of his recent releases, these sessions only feature real instruments and no synthesizers. All of the rhythm tracks were cut live in the studio, often edited down from jams that on several occasions ran close to ten minutes.


    For the project, Billington assembled some of the best Louisiana musicians, including Shane Theriot, David Torkanowsky, Jeffrey "Jellybean" Alexander, Kirk Joseph, Cornell Williams, and others. Rush brought along his old friend and longtime collaborator, guitarist Vasti Jackson, who worked with Bobby and Scott on getting the songs ready for the studio. Guitar greats Dave Alvin, Keb' Mo', and Joe Bonamassa all make guest appearances on the album.


    Rush has always been a prolific and clever songwriter. The songs he penned for Porcupine Meat such as "Dress Too Short," "I Don't Want Nobody Hanging Around," "Me, Myself And I," "Nighttime Gardener," "It's Your Move," and the title selection, all equal or rival his best material. "Funk O' De Funk" delivers exactly what the title suggests and what Rush has always done the best, which is putting the funk into the blues. While "Got Me Accused" is inspired by events from Rush's own life, the lyrics tell an all-too-familiar tale about the rampant racial injustice that afflicts our society. Producer Billington and his wife Johnette Downing (the well known New Orleans songwriter and children's musician) co-wrote a couple of fine selections, "Catfish Stew" and "Snake In The Grass."


    Bobby Rush is the greatest bluesman currently performing. Porcupine Meat is a testament to his brilliance, which presents him at his very best, and doesn't try to be anything that he is not. "I just try to record good music and stories," he humbly states. With this recording, he has more than accomplished his goal, and has produced one of the finest contemporary blues albums in recent times.

    1. I Don't Want Nobody Hanging Around
    2. Porcupine Meat
    3. Got Me Accused
    4. Snake in the Grass
    5. Funk O' De Funk
    6. Me, Myself and I (feat. Joe Bonamassa)
    7. Catfish Stew
    8. It's Your Move (feat. Dave Alvin)
    9. Nighttime Gardener (feat. Keb Mo)
    10. I Think Your Dress Is Too Short
    11. Standing on Shaky Ground
    12. I'm Tired (Tangle Eye Mix)
    Bobby Rush
    $25.99
    Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
  • Open Book Open Book Quick View

    $18.99
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    Open Book

    Fred Hersch has long been acclaimed as an exploratory artist, an outspoken activist, an influential educator and a uniquely revelatory and lyrical pianist. As one of the most expressive voices in modern jazz, Hersch has never been shy about letting listeners glimpse his most intimate thoughts and emotions. In September, however, Hersch's fans will be treated to even deeper, more revealing insights into the story of the renowned pianist when he publishes his much-anticipated memoir, Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In and Out of Jazz. As a companion piece, Hersch decided to present an equally direct and vulnerable glimpse into his private musical thoughts with his 11th solo release, Open Book.

    The seven pieces on Open Book (set for release via Palmetto Records) offer some of the finest, most unguardedly emotional solo music that Hersch has created in a career unique for its profound poignancy and passion. Recorded in a South Korean concert hall on a superb Hamburg Steinway concert grand piano, the album captures the vital essence of the revelatory adventurousness and intense beauty that have made Hersch one of the most important solo artists in jazz. With more than 40 albums to his credit as a leader or co-leader, Hersch remarkably continues to discover new areas of inspiration and depths of feeling.

    For the last two and a half decades I've been pretty open about who I am, what I like and what I'm dealing with at times, Hersch says. But I've always got to dig deeper, and I thought this might be a chance to make an album that's a window into the kinds of things that I play at home or don't play in public all that much.

    The album arrives during a momentous month for Hersch. On September 12, the esteemed publishers Crown Archetype (Penguin Random House) will release Good Things Happen Slowly, Hersch's bravely confessional memoir. The book covers the pianist's meteoric rise in jazz from his sideman days alongside masters like Art Farmer and Joe Henderson to his gradual recognition as one of the most individualistic and innovative artists of his generation, a ten-time Grammy Award nominee and winner of countless accolades including being named a 2016 Doris Duke Artist as well as the same year's Jazz Journalists Association Pianist of the Year. But it also frankly reveals his story as the first openly gay, HIV-positive jazz musician, tracing his path through hedonistic post-Stonewall New York City to the dramatic two-month medically induced coma in 2007 from which he emerged to make some of the most stunning and captivating music of his career.

    Later that month Hersch will reprise his ambitious Leaves of Grass full-evening piece at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Appel Room, the first time the song cycle has been performed in New York City since 2005. Vocalists Kurt Elling and Kate McGarry will reprise their roles from the original project, which sets the verse of American bard Walt Whitman. The legendary poet's timeless ode to the miracle of nature and openhearted love of all beings seems especially vital in our present socio-political moment.

    The centerpiece of Open Book, and the spark that ignited the album, is the nearly 20-minute improvisation Through the Forest. Unique in Hersch's extensive discography, the stream-of-consciousness gem is a miniature masterpiece of narrative development, a compelling journey through an abstract, glimmering landscape, revealing that in his early 60s Hersch continues to take creative risks and daunting inventive leaps.

    The creation of Through the Forest was as unplanned and spontaneous as the music itself. In Seoul for a pair of solo concerts during a break in a tour of Asia with his esteemed trio, Hersch overslept during an after-breakfast nap and rushed to take the stage at JCC Art Center Concert Hall for his afternoon performance. The titular forest is, in part, a jetlag and coffee-fueled dreamscape through which Hersch wanders, applying his vivid powers of observation to unusual terrain. I was a little groggy, my defenses were down, and rather than fight it I just gave in to it, Hersch recalls. I'd never really done anything of that length in public where I had no agenda and was able to stay in that zone for such an extended period of time. I realized it was something special, something different that might be the core of an album.

    Through the Forest became the leaping-off point for an album intended to be singularly divulgent and reflective. A few months later, Hersch returned to the same hall and recorded the remainder of Open Book alone in the empty venue (with the exception of Benny Golson's classic Whisper Not, taken from a concert during that return engagement).

    The album opens with the stark musings of The Orb, taken from Hersch's autobiographical music-theater piece My Coma Dreams. A love letter to Hersch's longtime partner, AIDS activist Scott Morgan, The Orb is the final dream depicted in the show, and in this solo rendition becomes a nakedly heartfelt outpouring of raw but tender emotion. The mood then takes a turn for the playful and swinging on Whisper Not, a longtime staple of Hersch's repertoire that here becomes a vibrant, virtuoso marathon of thematic exploration.

    The piece also serves as an ideal mirror to the album's other composition from the pen of a jazz icon, Thelonious Monk's Eronel. Hersch has long been recognized as one of the premier interpreters of the Monk songbook, but despite including one of the iconic composer's pieces in every one of his sets for most of his career, Hersch had never tackled this particular tune, co-written by pianist Sadik Hakim. Monk's original stride-inflected lines come in for a dizzying array of variations in Hersch's endlessly imaginative take.

    The music of Brazil has also been a constant in Hersch's career, in particular the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, the subject of one of the pianist's earlier solo efforts, 2009's Fred Hersch Plays Jobim. Picture in Black and White is a new addition to that repertoire, majestically transformed from a bossa nova feel to a crystalline hybrid with Chopin's last nocturne. On the other side of Through the Forest in the album's symmetrical structure comes Hersch's own classical-flavored Plainsong, a spare, lyrical piece composed in the bucolic setting of the MacDowell Colony, the inspirational artists' retreat in rural New Hampshire.

    Open Book ends on a meaningful ellipsis, Billy Joel's moving And So It Goes. In title alone it's an apt conclusion, suggesting an embrace of life as lived and hinting at its open-ended continuation. The full lyrics, which Hersch has performed in duo settings with singers including frequent collaborator Kate McGarry, remain unspoken here but obviously deeply felt in every note. I connect with the sentiment of the words, Hersch says, and it felt like a good benediction to the whole album.

    1. The Orb
    2. Whisper Not
    3. Zingaro
    4. Through The Forest
    5. Plainsong
    6. Eronel
    7. And So It Goes
    Fred Hersch
    $18.99
    Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
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