I’ve been taking as many opportunities as I can to see, hear, and sometimes record pianist-composer-inventer Joel Forrester in this summer of 2018, because he and Mary will be in France for much of the next year, from September onward.  If you take that as an undisguised suggestion to go to one of his gigs, none of us will mind.

JOEL FORRESTER, photograph by Metin Oner

Joel is a remarkable explorer: not only does he follow his own whimsies, giving himself over to them as they blossom in sonic air, but he also is curious about forms.  He casually said at this gig (last Wednesday night at JULES (65 St. Marks Place) that one composition came about, decades earlier, when he was deciding to be a bebop pianist or a stride one.  I think the two “styles” coexist nicely in him to this day.  Here’s some evidence.  And if “traditionally-minded” listeners can’t hear and enjoy his wholly loving heretical embraces, more’s the pity.  Or pities.

Joel is also full of various comedies, and some of them come out in wordplay.  So this tune, which makes me think of Chicago, 1933,  is called THE SPERM OF THE MOMENT.  Imagine that:

Celebrating a tender domestic return (as Joel explains), BACK IN BED:

NATURAL DISASTER, which happily does not live up to its title:

GONE TOMORROW, a meditation on the passage of time, which makes me think of 11:57 PM on my wristwatch:

SHELLEY GETS DOWN, complete with siren, in honor of singer Shelley Hirsch:

An entire tradition of improvised music passes through Joel while he is busily making it his own.  We’d be poorer without him.

May your happiness increase!

3 responses to “IN AND OUT OF TRADITIONS: JOEL FORRESTER at JULES (June 27, 2018)

  1. Dan Morgenstern

    That moustache makes him look like that nasty man now with Trump so tell him to trim it! Was he ever with Bobby and Vic?


  2. Jeepers, Dan, I don’t tell my pals what to do / to wear, etc. Joel was with the Baroness and Thelonious, rather.

  3. Don"Zoot" Conner

    Bravo! Sorry hear that Joel and his back in bed spouse will leaving us for France,Is Matial Solal still with us? If so,he would be in his ninetys.What a duo he and Joel would make.I think being introduced to Joel in his various gigs is one of your finest hours,Michael.He swings out madly with great tension and writes cohesively,as well.Also,i don’t care a damn about his Groucho stash.There,i said it and i’m glad.Thanks again,Michael.

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