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Baker's Dozen

Beautiful & Sad: Ben Watt's Favourite Albums
Jude Rogers , January 29th, 2020 09:48

As he releases a new solo record, Ben Watt of Everything But The Girl guides Jude Rogers through his Baker's Dozen, from Frank Ocean to Paul Simon and Bobby Womack to why male music critics were afraid of Joni Mitchell


Fred Hersch – Alone at the Vanguard
Fred Hersch is a hugely respected jazz pianist who was diagnosed HIV-positive in the 80s. He didn't talk about it publicly until the 90s. Then in 2008, he got very ill, and fell into a coma, which he stayed in for two months. When he came round he'd lost all his muscle memory, which is obviously devastating when you're a jazz pianist. So he had to learn to play again. This record was only made three years later, unbelievably.

I find this album very emotional. It's partly the music, which is very beautiful, but it's partly about what he went through. Having had a heavy hospital experience myself, I know how that can affect you. I managed to get a contact for Fred after he made this, and I wrote to him to tell him how much it had moved me. We wrote to each other for a while after that, which was really special.