»One of the most important jazz ensembles of our time« - this was the Washington Post’s verdict on the trio led by New York jazz pianist and composer Fred Hersch. Hersch, born in 1955, has worked with many major jazzmen, and is admired for his lyrical style of playing. He has recorded dozens of notable albums, has been awarded countless prizes – and is also very highly regarded as a teacher, with stars like Brad Mehldau and Jason Moran among his past students.
In the 1960s, songwriter Jimmy Webb was driving through the no-man’s-land of rural America. Sunset on the horizon, an endless series of telephone poles by the roadside… – when he suddenly noticed a silhouette at the top of one distant pole: a technician at work. He committed the picture to memory, and wrote a song about the repair man from the town of Wichita. »Wichita Lineman«, recorded by Country singer Glenn Campbell, became a worldwide success, and has been covered numerous times by other artists. For Fred Hersch, the story of the solitary lineman at the top of a telephone pole is still important even when the lyrics are not sung. »I can hear the words in my mind«, says Hersch, »and that influences how I play. When I’m teaching young musicians I always tell them to learn the text. These are not just words, it’s a song.«
»I am a lineman for the county and I drive the main road. Searchinʼ in the sun for another overload.«
The first lines from »Wichita Lineman«
The Laeiszhalle Recital Hall was refurbished after the Second World War, and today it is one of the few surviving concert halls in authentic 50s design. Chamber music series, song recitals and jazz concerts are regularly put on in these cosy and charming surroundings. The hall seats 640 people, making it a little bigger than the Recital Hall of the Elbphilharmonie.
About the series
Artists record exclusive music videos at the Elbphilharmonie and Laeiszhalle for Elbphilharmonie Sessions – sometimes in unusual locations offstage. Discover the concert halls from the inside. Discover what they sound like.
Text: François Kremer (Stand 14.04.2020)