Eric Hirsh is a restless and ambitious musician whose growing, genre-crossing body of work is finally being showcased in “Distillation,” his debut album as a bandleader.
For the past 12 years, Hirsh has lived in Durham, NC where he co-creates as a founding member of progressive hip hop quartet The Beast and as a director of Orquesta GarDel, a large-format salsa band. Increasingly, he has focused on writing and performing with a jazz quartet comprising longtime friends and Beast rhythm section Pete Kimosh (bass), Stephen Coffman (drums), and Aaron Hill (saxophone).
Hirsh is a 2012 recipient of the North Carolina Arts Council Composer Fellowship, and a four-time winner of the Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award. Residencies at the Kennedy Center’s Betty Carter Jazz Ahead, Chicago’s Ravinia Steans Music Institute, and Brooklyn’s School for Improvisatory Music each pushed Hirsh closer to the material on “Distillation.”
An enthusiastic collaborator, Hirsh has performed or recorded with the North Carolina Symphony, the North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra, Nnenna Freelon, Jim Ketch, Shana Tucker, Emily Musolino, Greg Humphreys, and The Community Chorus Project. He has performed at Duke Performances, North Carolina State University Center Stage, The Stone (New York), the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the North Carolina Art Museum, UNC Center for the Study of the American South, Lake Eden Arts Festival, Shakori Hills Grassroots Music Festival, and The Art of Cool Project.
“Pianist and composer Erich Hirsh can play pretty much anything you throw at him. When he’s not leading his jazz
quartet (Aaron Hill on saxophone, Peter Kimosh on bass, and Stephen Coffman on drums), he’s helping drive the
progressive hip-hop of The Beast or the salsa shake of Orquesta GarDel. His original compositions have a propulsive
thrust that combines a minimalist drive with the complex, expressive melodies. He’s one of the area’s best.” Dan Ruccia,
The Independent Weekly
Hirsh’s arrangements, both of his original compositions and of his covers, were all very playful and engaging