Published Nov 21, 2014Pianist/composer Fred Hersch is a musician's musician, an artist of in-the-moment expressiveness. His playing and writing are expansive: from lyrical to abstract, percussive to orchestral. And all of this looms large in My Coma Dreams, a jazz/theatre piece that explores Hersch's two-month immersion in a medically induced coma to treat septic shock stemming from his HIV/AIDS.
Singer/actor Michael Winther is both narrator and the embodiment of Hersch himself and those involved with his circumstances. He tells and sings: memories, hallucinatory visions, physical facts of the body's wasting, Hollywood's unrealistic take on the state and reawakening, all accompanied by the pianist and a stellar ten-piece orchestra. The piece weaves humour, pathos, personal history and grim reality through scenes portrayed with music moving through classical orchestral, tango, Broadway and, of course, jazz. Written and directed by Herschel Garfein, with animation by Sarah Wickliffe and computer imagery by Eamonn Farrell, the DVD is being released in honour of World AIDS Day. It's thought- and feeling-provoking creation. (Palmetto Records)