Recorded in the Catskills and released ahead of the pianist’s 60th birthday this live album includes quite a bit of material covered on different occasions on earlier albums.

In one sense it’s a repertory retrospective, in another a continuity, the shapes and reborn trajectories of the improviser’s art an endlessness.

Hersch albums usually include a Thelonious Monk piece and this does not disappoint as, like the 2014 trio album Floating, there’s Monk here, in this case a lively tumblingly joyous version of ‘In Walked Bud’ tucked in as the penultimate piece. Hersch also played this tune on his At Maybeck album recorded in the distant 1990s.

The album opens with a Jobim two-song seque and besides a more scene setting ‘Caravan’ there is a Schumann homage, ‘Pastorale’, written by Hersch (a piece that appeared on his Alone at the Vanguard album), and his excellent piece ‘Whirl’ the title track of an earlier trio album and the easy pick along with the delicious closing version of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Both Sides Now’. Yet in a bunch of ways the whole set is flawless.

Solo also includes a version of Jerome Kern’s ‘The Song Is You’, again a piece Hersch returns to from Maybeck and the Vanguard Alone. Interestingly Hersch in a brief liner note mentions that this new album along with two of his other solo piano albums were found objects “not intentionally recorded for release… I feel that I was in the zone – a special place where everything is working – heart, mind and technique. There was no agenda to the evening [14 August 2014] other than playing songs I love in a wonderful acoustic space on a fine instrument.”

Hersch’s is not at all an old fashioned approach, instead it’s very modernistic without being avant and practically steps away from any particular decade while clearly steeped in the Great American songbook adapted by the innovations of bebop and the flowing river of piano traditions from time immemorial.

Listen to Hersch even for just a little while and decide yourself pretty quickly how much so many pianists owe to his voicings and his deft unpeeling of harmonic ideas, motifs becoming novels rather than miniature pen pictures, songs always treated as songs and not surrogate puzzles. Brad Mehldau for one, a former student of Hersch’s, has imbibed deeply from the well of his inspiration (check the stern left hand quality to Hersch’s low rumbles on ‘Caravan’ after the half way mark, while ‘Pastorale’ is both Schumann-like and Mehldau pre-empting).

It’s a thrill to listen to Solo, up there among 2015’s very jazz piano albums to date, matching Creation for impact and appeal at the very top of the tree.

Released on 4 September