Some more music from my hero Joel Forrester, captured live at Cleopatra’s Needle on August 3, 2017, which is the THEN of the title. Joel brought with him Vito Dieterle, tenor saxophone; Dave Hofstra, string bass; Matt Garrity, drums (and other noble participants, their identities to be revealed in future JAZZ LIVES’ posts).
Two selections struck me most strongly as wordless evocations of tenderness, overlaid with grief. The first, YOUR LITTLE DOG, Joel’s elegy for a beloved pet, is incomplete: I arrived late to this Musical Offering and the quartet was taking its leisurely melancholy route through this composition, one of Joel’s that is most dear to me. Here is the closing minute. I wish I’d arrived earlier, but this minute-plus remains emotionally powerful:
Later in the evening, Joel and the quartet offered a slow ballad, ABOUT FRANCOISE, which has much of the same mood:
I’ve lingered over these two performances because they present a sound, a mood, a tempo that I don’t always encounter, in a world where some musicians feel pressured to be brighter, quicker, more attention-getting. Joel and friends know that music that mourns can also elate and uplift, and I hope you feel those emotions here.
That was THEN, as they say. The NOW is, of course, the minutes you are spending absorbing the sounds.
SOON is not yet here as I write this, but it will come . . . you know the rest.
Joel, Vito, and Dave have a new trio gig in Riverdale, New York, this coming Sunday, which is September 10, from 3 to 7 PM, at MON AMOUR, a coffee-and-wine cafe at 234 West 238th Street, two doors to the east of Broadway. Take the #1 train to 238 (its penultimate station stop) and you are THERE. No cover or music charge.
And Joel has promised me a full version of YOUR LITTLE DOG for my camera and my audience. You could spend Sunday afternoon searching for your autumn-winter wardrobe, but that can wait a few days.
Something relevant and perhaps not coincidental: I am reading with great pleasure OPEN CITY, the 2011 debut novel by Teju Cole — the book a gift from tenor saxophonist Sam Taylor, and after beginning this blog, I had to leave my computer but could take the book with me. The narrator says, early on, of a younger friend in his neighborhood, “My friend was especially passionate about jazz. Most of the names and styles that he so delighted in meant little to me (there are apparently number of great jazz musicians from the sixties and seventies with the last name Jones). But I could sense, even from my ignorant distance, the sophistication of his ear. He often said that he would sit down at a piano someday and show me how jazz worked, and that when I finally understood blue notes and swung notes, the heavens would part and my life would be transformed. I more than half believed him . . . ” (24-25).
Cole’s words echo Forrester’s “tunes.”
May your happiness increase!