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Over the past 20 years, pianist Fred Hersch has skirted classical music, post-bop jazz, and the avant-garde. But unlike many players who flit between styles as the marketplace demands, Hersch has always followed his own mixed muses. Now, his already driven desire to see his numerous ideas come to fruition may be further intensified by his diagnosis as HIV-positive; his dedication to sound-spectrum exploration is most apparent on his new album, 13 Ways. The CD’s free-chamber jazz (featuring piano, percussion, and clarinet) was inspired by the Wallace Stevens poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”: “I do not know which to prefer/The beauty of inflections/Or the beauty of innuendoes/The blackbird whistling/Or just after.” With Fred Hersch, all is preferred. Hersch appears in a traditional trio at 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. tonight and tomorrow at the Willard Hotel’s Nest Lounge, 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. $16. (202) 628-9100. (Christopher Porter)