Reviews of My Coma Dreams on DVD
BEST JAZZ ALBUMS OF 2014. The surprise here is that this “jazz theater” piece really is theater — moving, provocative theater — not just a song cycle with visuals... in a scenario written by composer/librettist Herschel Garfein, with Hersch’s 11-piece ensemble and a brilliant performance by singing actor Michael Winther, playing both Hersch and Hersch’s partner/caregiver Scott Morgan."
- Jon Garelick, The Boston Globe
My Coma Dreams, a jazz theater piece created with the director Herschel Garfein, is in one sense testimonial, a survivor's tale formed out of... the strange and vivid dreams that Mr. Hersch had during his ordeal, with the actor-singer Michael Winther toggling between several points of view. The text [is] by turns descriptive, surrealistic and droll, with an undertow of poignancy..."
- Nate Chinen, The New York Times, Dec. 5, 2014
My Coma Dreams is unique — a theater piece that features a single actor/narrator, but is carried in large part by instrumental music. It's moving and funny, with an unflagging narrative drive over its 90 minutes... beautifully realized by the singing actor Michael Winther."
- Jon Garelick, The Boston Globe
Fred Hersch's brilliant multimedia piece My Coma Dreams...conceived, written and directed by Herschel Garfein... incorporates music, spoken word and computer graphics into a fantastically interesting 90-minute work.... It has beautiful musical moments and narrative passages that will make you laugh, think and maybe even cry a little... The narrative here is smart, honest and true. And the music is superb."
- Frank Alkyer, Downbeat, Editor's Picks, Dec. 2014
It is a wondrous blending of Garfein's story telling, new music by Hersch and virtuoso acting by Michael Winther, who also sings beautifully....This summary doesn't begin to suggest the intricacy of the Garfein script or the subtlety and beauty of Hersch's music."
- Rifftides/ArtsJournal, Dec. 9, 2014
a remarkable combination of jazz and classical music...[written with] the theatrical wizard Herschel Garfein... Astonishing music of love and grief... marks Fred Hersch as a great composer...
- All About Jazz
Reviews of My Coma Dreams Live
Disturbing, lovely... [with] deeply funny moments throughout ... Mr. Hersch is a pianist and composer of rare and wide-ranging gifts...The separate experiences of patient and loved one form one duality wrapped into Mr. Winther's double roles, which he delineates with grace...
- Larry BlumenthalWall Street Journal
I found the piece unshakable—serious, profoundly moving, and sometimes disturbing, a work of dream art as elegant as Stravinsky's "Petit Concert" and as memorable as "Yesterday."
- David Hajdu, The New Republic
My Coma Dreams is scary and sad and beautiful and damn funny in parts... a mighty range of expression... the music is wondrous.
- Jazz Times
a potent "jazz theater" piece...
- San Francisco Chronicle
The locomotion of [percussionist] Hollenbeck and [bassist] Hébert provides supple support to Hersch's swinging, stately and beautiful playing, and the paired impact of the visuals with Michael Winther's performance is a revelation.
Feature articles about My Coma Dreams
Jon Garelick’s 2014 Best Jazz Album Picks
The Boston Globe, Dec. 13, 2014
Jazz pianist Fred Hersch conveys medical peril in vivid stage work, now on DVD
The Boston Globe, Dec 1, 2014
How Jazz Composer and Pianist Fred Hersch Turned His 'Coma Dreams' into Remarkable Music
NY Daily News, Feb 24, 2013
The Music of His Dreams
The Wall Street Journal, Oct 27, 2011
Fred Hersch's Dream Music From a Nightmare Time
The New Republic, May 13, 2011
My Coma Dreams is a starred pick in:
The New York Times • TimeOut New York • The New Yorker • The Village Voice
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All photos by Stephanie Berger