Internationally renowned jazz pianist Fred Hersch is a masterful musician, a highly expressive improviser and composer who pulls from varied musical traditions and genres to create free-flowing works that are uniquely his own. Enormously influential to a new generation of musicians, Hersch also blazed trails in the jazz world when he came out as gay and HIV- positive in the 1990s. Directors Charlotte Lagarde and Carrie Lozano offer a sensitive look at this maverick in THE BALLAD OF FRED HERSCH, giving his gorgeous music plenty of space. We watch Hersch riff in clubs and concert halls, and follow his painstaking creative process as he seeks to turn a near-death experience—the two months he spent in an AIDS-related coma in 2008—into a piece of multimedia jazz theater. As Hersch channels the dreams and nightmares he had while unconscious into a new composition, we develop an intimate understanding of an artist who is at once unassuming and incomparable.
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