I now have another regular Saturday-afternoon gig to go to, which for me is no small thing. Every Saturday afternoon from noon to after 3:30 (the music begins at 12:30) I’ve been at Cafe Loup, 105 West Thirteenth Street, near Sixth Avenue, to get a good seat for the solo piano recital of Joel Forrester, one of the most consistently imaginative — often playfully so — artists I have ever heard and witnessed in person. What I offer here is the last set (only four performances) of Joel’s offering of May 27, 2017. And here are videos and commentary about the first two sets. And for those of you who are unfamiliar with Joel’s work, this should remedy that deficiency easily.
Joel’s compositions, his approach to standard material — all of his music is as far from formulaic as one could imagine. He knows the tradition, and it’s not simply “the jazz tradition,” “the bebop tradition,” or “the jazz piano tradition,” and the breadth of his knowledge and his affection for all kinds of melodic music, subtle and powerful, bubbles through every performance. So here are four more:
His original, SERENADE, in honor of a now-defunct club of the same name:
Another original, I WONDER, that begins as if the ghost of Tatum had beguined into the room for a few minutes, then transforms into a swirling dance:
A respectfully quirky reading of Monk’s WELL, YOU NEEDN’T:
and finally, the Beatles’ YESTERDAY, the soundtrack of my early teens:
Gigs do not last forever, as we all know. If you’re in the vicinity of Cafe Loup on a Saturday afternoon and you don’t get a chance to witness what Joel is doing, you’re missing the Acme Fast Freight, to quote Mildred Bailey. That’s an unsubtle admonition or is it a solicitation? — but true nevertheless.
May your happiness increase!