THURSDAY 1/30. South on Main. 8 p.m. $35-$54.
The more you learn about Fred Hersch, the more onerous a task it is to single out the most gripping fact about his life. Is it that he became, in 2006, the first solo pianist to get booked for a weeklong engagement at the revered Village Vanguard? That he broke that record as one of the first openly gay, HIV-positive jazz musicians in the nation? That he used heroin exactly once, and it was with Chet Baker? Or that Hersch’s nimble hands recovered their endless facility after he’d been held in a medically induced coma for seven weeks? That he then turned his torpor into a piece called “My Coma Dreams”? Or is it that, when he puts his hand to the keys, all of that biographical background floats away anyway, and you’re left realizing you’re bearing witness to one of the greatest jazz pianists in the world? This will be one for the books; grab a ticket to this installment of Oxford American’s Jazz series at oxfordamerican.org and find out why New Yorker lauded Hersch’s trio for is “high lyricism and high danger,” or why All About Jazz declared that “when it comes to the art of solo piano in jazz, there are two classes of performers: Fred Hersch and everybody else.”