Yaron Herman

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Genre: Jazz, Experimental

Members: Pianist Yaron Herman, Bassist Chris Tordini and Drummer Tommy Crane

Band Bio: With Follow the white Rabbit, Yaron Herman’s exuberant ACT debut, the 29-year old Israeli pianist takes a cue from Lewis Carroll, bringing his penchant for mischief to an array of genre- bending original compositions and covers, leading the listener down the rabbit hole of his unique sound world. Featuring bassist Chris Tordini and drummer Tommy Crane, the trio blends keen group improvisation, a pop sensibility, and classical counterpoint with an inexhaustible energy that leavens fearless experimentation with a strong foundation in jazz tradition.

Herman, Tordini, and Crane first met while on tour in Canada in early 2010, and an immediate connection quickly brought the trio to the studio. Herman picks up where he left off with the omnivorous influences of A Time for Everything (2007) and Muse (2009), in this outing offering a meditative take on Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box,” Radiohead’s “No Surprises,” and a lilting rendition of the Frank Churchill Dumbo standard,“Baby Mine,” reminiscent of Bill Evans. This sensitivity, light touch, and ear for lyricism crystallizes with Herman’s lush arrangement of the Israeli folk song “Ein Gedi,” a wistful rumination on the oasis by the Dead Sea. These covers flow organically between Herman’s originals, among them the driving title track, with its minimalist ostinato, “The Mountain in G Minor,” a syncopated march that recalls The Bad Plus, and “Clusterphobic,” with its beautifully dissonant walls of sound.

Born in Tel Aviv, Herman began a promising career on the Israeli National Junior Basketball team, but a serious knee injury put him on the sidelines. At 16, the erstwhile athlete decided to take up the piano, studying under Opher Brayer, famous for his unconventional method of teaching based on philosophy, mathematics, and psychology. Herman mastered piano fundamentals at an astonishingly precocious speed, and within two years, he was performing at top venues in Israel, among them the Tel-Aviv Museum, the Givataim Theatre, and the Einav Center.

Herman found inspiration in artists as far-ranging as Keith Jarrett (like Jarrett, he often sings as he plays), Björk, and Maurice Ravel, forging a singular style by turns percussive and impressionistic. At 19, he moved to Boston to attend the Berklee College of Music, but soon left to pursue an independent career in Paris. At 21, he recorded his first album, Takes 2 to know 1, a duet with drummer Sylvain Ghio. In addition to an extensive touring schedule, Herman was also invited to give lectures at the Sorbonne on his unorthodox theory of improvisation, “Real Time Composition.”

Herman went on to perform around the world, including performances at the Monterey Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, San Francisco Jazz Festival, and all throughout Europe, touring with his trio alongside bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Gerald Cleaver. The group was cited in The New York Times by Nate Chinen for its “effervescent rapport.” Herman has also performed solo concerts, touring in South America, and was the first jazz pianist to perform in the Forbidden City in Beijing. As a sideman, Herman has collaborated with bassist Lars Danielsson, singer Yael Naim, and Sting guitarist Dominic Miller, among others.

By: Fully Altered Media


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