Jazz could not contain Fred Hersch. His prodigious talent as a sideman--a pianist who played with the giants of the twentieth century in the autumn of their careers, including Art Farmer and Joe Henderson--blos-somed further in the eighties and beyond into a compositional genius that defied the boundaries of bop, sweeping in elements of pop, classical, and folk to create a wholly new music. Good Things Happen Slowly is his memoir. It's the story of the first openly gay, HIV-positive jazz player, and a deep look into the cloistered jazz culture that made such a status both transgressive and groundbreaking. It is a remarkable, at times lyrical evocation of New York in the twilight days of post-Stonewall hedonism, and a powerfully brave narrative of the illness that led to Hersch's two-month-long coma in 2007, from which he would emerge to create some of the finest, most direct and emotionally compelling music of his career.
Jazz pianist and composer Fred Hersch has spent more than four decades as an improviser, educator, bandleader, collaborator, and recording artist. He is a ten-time Grammy Award nominee, and has been hailed by Vanity Fair as "the most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade". He was named a 2016 Doris Duke Artist, has twice been Jazz Pianist of the Year by The Jazz Journalists Association and was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Composition in 2003. The first openly gay, HIV-positive jazz musician of note, he has for more than two decades been a passionate spokesman and fundraiser for AIDS services and education agencies. His latest solo recording, Open Book, will be released on September 8, 2017.
David Hajdu is one of most respected critics and authors in America. The longtime music critic for The New Republic, he currently holds the same post at The Nation and writes regularly for The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Times Magazine. He is the author of five acclaimed books, including Love for Sale: Pop Music in America and Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn, which The New York Times named one of the 100 Best Nonfiction Books of All Time. He is a four-time winner of the ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award for Music Writing and a three-time finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as finalist for the Lambda Book Award for LGBT literature. He is a professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and also a well-regarded songwriter who has collaborated with Fred Hersch. His book in progress, a "fictional biography" of a nonexistent composer, will be published by W.W. Norton in 2018.