Pianist. Composer. Classical. Jazz.
Feb 29, 2020
Matt Herskowitz | Mirror Image
For my second solo album with Justin Time, I wanted to explore what's become an increasingly prominent theme in my playing and composition; the reconciliation of my jazz and classical sides. I've been blending elements of both for a few years now, but one always seemed to favour the other. And, after two albums of Bach arrangements, a Chopin project with my jazz trio and a few other hybrid outings, I wanted to explore this fusion as it relates to my own music as well as through classical compositions, but this time just me and the piano, pure and simple.
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“When the composer and jazz pianist Matt Herskowitz was writing “Concerto Grosso,” he didn’t set out to create a work in that form, but eventually decided to include a solo part for each instrument in the jazz- influenced and contrapuntal piece, which was given its premiere here. Mr. Herskowitz was the only one to improvise his solo, “but everyone has to groove,” he said, while introducing the work. “If they can’t groove, they can’t play the piece.” His imaginative, virtuosic solo certainly proved the most vibrant and distinctive in the entertaining piece, which traversed a range of moods.”
“Throughout these eight tracks, [Herskowitz] displays touch, power, artistry and chops along with a firm grasp of the daring needed for a great performance"
“Released for the first time in 2005, this rather stunning recording from pianist Matt Herskowitz is above all an homage to the late trumpeter Lew Soloff, who played with Frank Sinatra, Gil Evans and most notably Blood Sweat and Tears. He will remain in our collective consciousness as one of the most brilliant musicians of his time. There are wondrous moments in these ten tracks; if you peruse through them attentively, it’s difficult to resist Etude on the Days of Wine and Roses and Forget Me Not.”
– Journal de Montréal
There are always a few acts at the XRIJF that I’ve never heard of before the festival, but I can’t stop talking about after I’ve seen them. Pianist Matt Herskowitz is now on that list. The premise was the embodiment of Third Stream music: the fusion of jazz with classical music to create, in this case, a wild hybrid. What made the concert extraordinary was Herskowitz’s beyond-brilliant technique. He was, of course, capable of subtlety, but he was astoundingly adept at impossibly fast and intricate passages... He also played the most wildly rhythmic rendition of Gershwin’s “I’ve Got Rhythm” that I’ve ever heard. At one point, toward the end of the concert, on a tune by the late pianist, Michel Petrucciani, Herskowitz executed a two-handed fluttering chord passage that got faster and faster until it melted into a blur of hummingbird wings. After he lifted his hands, I swear the piano was still shivering with those notes.
- Downbeat Magazine"s "Editor's Picks"
- City Newspaper, Rochester, NY
- the New York Times