Jazz Piano Lesson #10: Listen up!


File this post in the proselytising bin. That’s because as with all music, the only way to know it, the music that is, is to hear it. And this post is about a select recording that must be heard. Hence the imperative in the title.

But, we already know: to play and enjoy music, listening is essential. That’s why, for example, we can find so many pictures of Miles Davis pointing to his ear.

But, that’s my opinion. And what’s the difference between listening and hearing?

Questions and Puns

The phrase in the title, listen up, it’s also a pun on a something said by a political leader not long ago.

One response to what was said is:

Are art and music answers and non-sequiturs for the political things?


Allowing for politics and and non-sequiturs, both are out there, then, literally and practically, the recording mentioned below is among rare finds. It’s a recording that can help us question our assumptions about music—if we allow it to do so.

If we so allow it.

But, that idea: we have assumptions about music. It’s fraught rather than lambent?

How exactly do we do examine what we assume?

The good news is the recording mentioned below—surely, it is among all things lambent. It’s also true that, not long ago, a good friend pointed me to that word—lambent.

However that is (and thank you for a great word!), the point is,

lambent perfectly describes a new recording by:

Fred Hersch and Anat Cohen

The link goes to a review of the recording. The review has a video of one of the tracks.

But, although the link goes to a review, the recording is sufficiently gorgeous, and so meant-to-be-heard, that it’s pure demonstration. This is a recording that transcends review and reviews.

It’s a pure demonstration that goes to the essential question:

How do we listen?

Anat Cohen—Fred Hersch. It’s a deep recording but I really dislike the idea of essential, canonical recordings. It’s too easy to spiral off into opinions and names of favourites.

But for this recording—I say: make the exception. And having made the exception, put the recording in the whatever-number-of-recordings that live amongst the top of the list. Is that 5? 10? 20?

Whatever. This new recording by Fred Herscha and Anat Cohen. It belongs with the select few.