One of the happinesses of 2017 has been reconnecting with the singularly multi-talented Joel Forrester: piano, compositions, arrangements, thoughts, and feelings. I’ve been changed by his music, and I don’t write those words casually. It’s serious and playful, sorrowful and hilarious all at once.
I was happy to be on the scene for another appearance by Joel’s quintet — this time at Silvana, oat 300 West 116th Street in New York City, on July 24. Along with Joel, the quintet is old friends Dave Hofstra, string bass; Matt Garrity, drums; Michi Fuji, violin; Michael Irwin, trumpet. No cliches, no trickery. Just deep feelings and deep improvisations in an hour-long set that felt rich and spacious . . . and filling: I didn’t want to hear any more music that night.
DON’T ASK ME NOW:
FINDING MY WAY BACK HOME:
SOME THINGS DON’T WORK OUT:
SOLDIERS IN THE ARMY (the rhythm section only, but joined by the enthusiastic audience):
AFTER YOU, JOEL:
SILENT NIGHT BLUES:
You’ll notice I wrote “another”: my first encounter with the Five was at the Shrine, also in Harlem, on July 17, captured here. Since the Five performed a few of the same tunes at both gigs, you can compare and contrast. Comparison is said to be odious, but not with this small expansive traveling orchestra.
May your happiness increase!