Hersch, Fred. “Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In and Out of Jazz”, Penguin, 2017.
The Life of a Sideman
Fred Hersch is a jazz pianist, composer, activist, and educator whose talent as a sideman (a pianist who played with the giants of the twentieth century) who defied the boundaries of bop, sweeping in elements of pop, classical, and folk to create a wholly new music. This is his memoir and it is the story of the first openly gay, HIV-positive jazz player and a detailed look into the cloistered jazz culture that made such a status both transgressive and groundbreaking. We also get a profound exploration of how Hersch’s two-month-long coma in 2007 led to his creating some of the finest, most direct, and most emotionally compelling music of his career. Here is a look at post-Stonewall New York and a “narrative of illness, recovery, music, creativity, and the glorious reward of finally becoming oneself.”