"...technically flawless, light years advanced harmonically... Matt is a giant." —Dave Brubeck
Pianist/Composer Matt Herskowitz is scheduled to make a solo piano performance at DROM in New York City on Tuesday, March 19 at 7:15pm. The performance will be in support of his recently released Justin Time Records album, Upstairs.
As a followup to 2010′s acclaimed Jerusalem Trilogy (also released on Justin Time Records), pianist-composer Matt Herskowitz showcases the art of solo piano on Upstairs, recorded before a live audience in the intimate setting of Montreal’s Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill. A graduate of the Juilliard School in New York, Herskowitz draws on his classical training and his deep love of jazz, presenting an artful blend of musical styles with direct nods to Michel Petrucciani, Dave Brubeck, George Gershwin, J.S. Bach and Robert Schumann along the way. “I wanted the choice of pieces to reflect a broad range of what I do, including my own compositions, arrangements of classical pieces, and my favourite jazz covers,” writes Herskowitz in the liner notes to Upstairs.
Performing on a Yamaha C-6 piano in the quiet ambiance of the Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill, Montreal’s answer to Manhattan’s Village Vanguard, Herskowitz delighted the Tuesday night audience with his eclectic program, which opens with Brubeck’s rhapsodic homage to Chopin, “Dzienkuye (Thank You),” a piece he wrote in 1958 while on tour with his quartet in Poland and which first appeared later that year on Brubeck’s Jazz Impressions of Eurasia. “In addition to being a supportive and influential voice in my own music, as well as in music in general, he was absolutely the most generous, selfless and encouraging person I’ve ever known, and I’m very glad to feature one of my favourite tunes of his on my album, now as a tribute to Dave. I sent a copy of my performance of ‘Dziekuye’ to Dave back in August, and he loved it, which was very heartening to know.” Of Herskowitz’ last album Jerusalem Trilogy, Dave wrote the following in a personal letter: “I listened to Jerusalem Trilogy carefully. Congratulations! You have transformed the concept of ‘world’ music as I conceived of it half a century ago. You have carried it further than I could imagine back then. The playing is wonderful throughout.”
Regarding the intimate ambiance of the Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill, where you can literally hear the clinking of glasses in the room by the patrons, Herskowitz says he appreciated the pin-drop silence during his solo performances. “I didn’t even tell people that we were recording that night. Maybe I should’ve, but it turns out I didn’t have to because they were just so respectful of the performance. They were there to chill and listen to the music.”