Pianist, composer, writer Joel Forrester invents scores for silent films and has done so for decades. But we don’t associate him with the megaphone and director’s chair, nor does he have credits as a producer or director. Yet I’ve come to think of some of Joel’s more evocative compositions and performances as the scores for films that have not made it to the screen. Soundtracks to our own imaginings.
Here are three such cinema-without-cinema creations, invented and re-invented on Sunday, May 6, at the delightful French bistro / jazz club JULES (65 Saint Marks Place, an easy walk from several subways). Joel is playing at Jules every Sunday this summer from 4-6:30, sometimes solo, sometimes with guests / friends: a day ago, he had a trio of himself, David Hofstra, string bass; Vito Dieterle, tenor saxophone. JULES is lovely, by the way — good food, interesting wines, and a truly friendly staff. And the latter means more to people like me than I can say.
From May 6. Close your eyes and imagine the film — this one is easy, because it is Joel’s idea of music to be played while the credits roll:
This Middle Eastern sound-portrait is named for Joel and Mary’s son, the illustrious Max. I met him — not in the desert — and he deserves this song:
Finally, one of Forrester’s many selves, among them the swing pianist, the eccentric / novelty / stride pianist, the Powell-and-Monk through a bright prism, and the 1933 Chicago blues pianist, half in the dark, a half-finished beer on top of the piano which is of course a little assertive in the upper octaves:
Did you like Cinema Forrester? More to come. And come visit Joel at Jules.
May your happiness increase!