MIND-DANCES AND HEART-TALES: JOEL FORRESTER AT THE PIANO, PART ONE (Cafe Loup, May 27, 2017)

JOEL FORRESTER, photograph by Metin Oner

As I’ve written recently, here, pianist-composer Joel Forrester creates music — tender, sensuous, surprising — always rewarding, never pre-cooked.  I’ve been delighting in his recorded work for a decade now, but haven’t stirred myself to see him perform in a long time.  But I did just that last Saturday, May 27, 2017, at his solo recital (12:30 – 3:30) at Cafe Loup , 105 W 13th St, New York (very close to the #1 train), (212) 255-4746. (And at the risk of sounding like a Yelp review, service — thank you, Byron! — was solicitous, and the food was fresh and nicely presented.)

The musical experiences Joel offered that afternoon were, to me, deeper than simple music.  It felt as if he was a repertory company: each performance seemed its own small world — balancing on its own axis — and then gave way to the next.  A gritty blues was followed by a romantic lament, then a rollicking saunter through an unknown landscape, then a dance from a traveling carnival . . . as you will hear for yourself.

Joel is always balancing strong rhythms and subtle melodies, creating his own shapes and changing those created by others.  The range of his inspirations is amazingly broad: in the course of the afternoon’s recital for an admiring audience, he evoked and improvised on the blues and boogie woogie, Billie Holiday, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Cole Porter, Meade Lux Lewis, James Joyce, hymns, the Beatles, and Sam Cooke.

STAGGER JOEL (his variations on an ancient folk blues with a similar name):

GG’S BLUES (paying affectionate tribute to Gershwin’s RHAPSODY):

IN THE RING (a bubbling dance):

BILLIE’S SOLITUDE (for Lady Day and Duke):

IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY (FOR THE MOMENT) (musing on Parisian weather):

CARAVAN (Juan Tizol reminding us that the journey, not the destination, matters):

WHITE BLUES (a title explained by Joel, as prelude):

SKIRMISH (with variant titles explained by the composer):

YOU SEND ME (Forrester meets Sam Cooke):

BACK IN BED (implicitly a paean to domestic bliss):

FATE (half-heard melodies care of Meade Lux Lewis):

There’s more to come from this afternoon at Cafe Loup, and more from Joel in his many guises, all restorative.  He has many and various gigs: visit here.

May your happiness increase!

Advertisements

4 responses to “MIND-DANCES AND HEART-TALES: JOEL FORRESTER AT THE PIANO, PART ONE (Cafe Loup, May 27, 2017)

  1. Joel is a talented musician with a deep feeling in his music – thank you! We’re currently in Enterprise, AL where music is known by a surprising number of people to be a “spiritualizing force” … yet in these parts, due to lack of exposure I believe, there are few who naturally include secular music when they express this belief. We are new here, and my BluesJazz pianist husband Bill Rossi has recently begun offering some casual performances — the receptivity has been interesting, to say the least! Totally quiet and rapt listeners, some of whom seem to be not quite sure what to make of it but clearly thoroughly enjoying it and taking it in at a heartfelt level. So thank you for bringing the talent of NYC to this rural SE corner of Alabama … perhaps as locals here begin to visit Bill’s FB page they’ll explore some of the many posts of yours that I’ve shared.

  2. I’d like to add … they will explore your posts and enjoy them as much as I have.

  3. Ida Melrose Shoufler

    You introduce me to a new musician in so many of your posts Michael, Joel Forrester is a name I shall not forget! I can not begin to tell you how much I enjoyed the music, and the banter between you and Mr, Forrester. Thank you so much for the wonderful post NM, Great piano!!!

  4. Pingback: THE SECOND SET: MIND-DANCES AND HEART-TALES: JOEL FORRESTER AT THE PIANO (Cafe Loup, May 27, 2017) | JAZZ LIVES

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s