Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fred Hersch

David Hadju's article from the New York Times Sunday Magazine about Fred Hersch is a pretty amazing portrait of a great jazz pianist who has battled HIV/AIDS and homophobia.

The recounting of the breakthrough moment when he decided to come out of the closet is strong:
One afternoon, Hersch had a rehearsal scheduled with Stan Getz in Hersch’s loft. After Getz rang Hersch’s buzzer, Hersch found himself scooting to his bathroom to hide his boyfriend’s toothbrush. “That’s when I realized, What the hell am I doing?” he recalled. “This is my home. This is my life. I decided I was going to open up about everything and just be myself, and the period of coming out was the beginning of my gaining confidence as a composer. I felt like I had to get it out there while I still had time.”
And the description of fighting back from recent severe health problems (e.g. being in a coma for months) is downright amazing.

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