Fred Hersch remembers meeting Charles Mingus

December 7th, 2017


Fred Hersch



In a wonderfully soulful and revealing excerpt from his autobiography Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In and Out of Jazz, the pianist Fred Hersch remembers his musical introduction to New York in 1977, and specifically when he felt appreciated by none other than Charles Mingus.  An excerpt-from-the-excerpt is found below, and is continued on the New York Times website, where this piece appeared on October 24.  




In 1977, a week after I graduated from New England Conservatory in Boston, I moved to New York to play with the greatest players in jazz — isn’t that why most young jazz musicians come to New York? Soon after I arrived, while I was picking up gigs at a variety of small jazz clubs in the Village (and one night at a piano bar on the Upper East Side, where I unhappily sang show tunes), I began going to Bradley’s, a bar on University Place owned by Bradley Cunningham, a gregarious, imposing former marine in his early 50s.

I was 21 and Bradley’s was the place jazz musicians went to be with other musicians, hear gossip, learn material, steal ideas, get drunk — and possibly get laid.

I quickly insinuated myself into the scene. Truth to tell, I was pretty full of myself and probably too pushy.

Click here to continue reading on the New York Times website.








Share this:

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In This Issue

This issue features an interview with Bing Crosby biographer Gary Giddins; a collection of poetry devoted to the World War II era; and a new edition of “Reminiscing in Tempo,” in which the question “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz recordings of the 1940’s” is posed to Rickie Lee Jones, Chick Corea, Tom Piazza and others.


In this edition of Reminiscing in Tempo,, Chick Corea, Rickie Lee Jones, Tom Piazza, Gary Giddins, Randy Brecker, Michael Cuscuna, Terry Teachout and many others answer the question, “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite recordings of the 1940’s?”


Interview with Bing Crosby biographer Gary Giddins, author of the new book "Swinging on a Star: The War Years, 1940 - 1946"


Eight poets — John Stupp, Aurora Lewis, Michael L. Newell, Robert Nisbet, Alan Yount, Roger Singer, dan smith and Joan Donovan — write about the era of World War II

The Joys of Jazz

Award winning radio producer and host Bob Hecht shares his love of jazz through his podcasts on his site “The Joys of Jazz.” In this edition, he tells two stories; the history of the virtual anthem of World War II, “I’ll Be Seeing You,” and the friendship and musical rapport of Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong.

Short Fiction

Hannah Draper of Ottawa, Ontario is the winner of the 49th Jerry Jazz Musician New Short Fiction Award. Her story is titled "Will You Play For Me?"

Coming Soon

Three prominent scholars in a conversation about the lives of Billie Holiday, Ralph Ellison, and Langston Hughes (pictured)

Contributing writers

Site Archive