Fred Hersch, a distinguished artist at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, has been one of the world’s preeminent jazz pianists for decades. Recently, he has been as prolific as ever—and to great effect. Last year, Hersch was nominated for two Grammy Awards: Open Book was chosen for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, and “Whisper Not” was selected for Best  Improvised Jazz Solo. In September, his moving memoir, Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In and Out of Jazz (Crown Archetype, 2017), was published. It recounts, in part, a seven-week medically induced coma that he survived. “Since I’ve recovered from the coma, I feel like my playing is, in every possible way, better,” he told Terry Gross, the host of NPR’s Fresh Air. “I think it’s deeper.”