In 2008, jazz pianist Fred Hersch slipped into an AIDS-related coma for more than two months. When he came out of the coma, he couldn't walk, eat or play piano. Hersch explains how he rebuilt himself after his illness and composed music for his latest album, Whirl.
In his 30-year career, musician Fred Hersch has performed in solo, duo, trio and quintet settings. In 2003 he received the prestigious Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, which he used to work on his latest project, Leaves of Grass. For it, Hersch leads a 10-piece ensemble, which includes vocalists singing the words of Walt Whitman set to compositions by Hersch. He is touring the ensemble this month.