Fred Hersch leads Steinway’s fundraising concert for Jazz Foundation of America

Eight acclaimed jazz pianists will perform as part of Steinway’s fundraising concert for the Jazz Foundation of America’s COVID-19 Musicians’ Emergency Fund.

Taking place on Thursday, Feb. 4, at 8 p.m. ET, the prerecorded concert — called Eight x 88 — will feature solo and duet performances by Fred Hersch, Christian Sands, Sullivan Fortner, Kris Davis, Aaron Diehl, Orrin Evans, Aaron Goldberg and Kevin Hays.

The pianists have interpreted a mix of songs by Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Frank Loesser, Stevie Wonder and more.

The Jazz Foundation of America is a New York-based not-for-profit organization that has served the jazz community for 32 years. The JFA created the COVID-19 Musician’s Emergency Fund last year to offer urgent assistance to the music community during the pandemic.

The initiative for Eight x 88 was led by Hersch, who approached the JFA’s executive director Joe Petrucelli with the initial idea for the concert. Last spring, Hersch and Esperanza Spalding raised funds by donating the proceeds of their Live from the Village Vanguard EP to help fellow musicians during the pandemic.

“I felt great about steering [the concert] to JFA, the premier organization helping the entire jazz community at this very stressful time,” Hersch said. “I have been aware of JFA’s remarkable mission for many years and it has directly helped some wonderful musicians I know personally.”

Steinway was then brought in to donate their services and produce the concert.

“Our hope is that this event and the great artists that we were able to assemble will provide not just financial assistance but also hope to the jazz community and to its ardent fans,” said Hays. “We are ready to resume public performances as soon as it is safe and viable to do so — there is no substitute for that in-person connection that is made between a musician and a live audience.”

Filmed over two days at Steinway Hall in New York, the concert will stream as a 90-minute program on Steinway & Sons’ Facebook and YouTube channels.


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