The Squid's Ear Magazine

Futterman, Joel: Remembering Dolphy (JDF Music)

Pianist Joel Futterman pays a tribute to late alto saxophonist Eric Dolphy through six Dolphy original compositions, plus one Mal Waldron track and two Futterman originals referencing Dolphy's well-known Blue Note record, "Out to Dinner" parts one & two, each track unedited with no overdubs and the album presented in the sequence in which it was recorded.

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product information:

UPC: 700261320267

Label: JDF Music
Catalog ID: JDF 7
Squidco Product Code: 29596

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2010
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Sleeve Sealed
Recorded in October, 2010, by Benjamin Tomassetti.


Joel Futterman-piano

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Putting together a tribute album to any major improviser is pointless unless the appreciator brings something new to the honoree's music. That's the particular appeal of these sessions. Joel Futterman's solo piano salute to multi-reedman Eric Dolphy forces you to hear some of the reedist's best-known compositions with fresh ears.

Playing solo, there's no way Futterman could have been similarly self-effacing on Remembering Dolphy. But as a pianist he avoids any obvious comparisons. Also, unlike Dolphy, whose death at 36 in 1964 meant that his conception was as a ModernPostbop at its most advanced, yet At the same time this CD isn't out-and-out abstract. As a post-modernist, Futterman's walking bass work is more reminiscent of Earl Hines or boogie-woogie stylists than anything post-1945. Therefore no matter how splintered and staccato his broken chording becomes during narrative variations, the steadily paced syncopation keeps grounded rhythm on show.

For instance "Miss Ann" almost gains a ragtime interface at the top, as Futterman skitters across the keys, creating a bouncing steeplechase of passing tones and chords. As his chord formation varies from paced and processional to kinetic syncopation, the theme formation stays mid-range throughout, dropping into the bass register at certain times for added stimulation. By the finale as he makes the piano keys seem as malleable as plasticine, Futterman appears to have two lines moving concurrently. One is super staccato and the other decorates the first with sudden feints, pumps and flicks. Used frequently throughout, this skill often suggests that he's extemporizing an original, often tremolo melody to complement the Dolphy line on which he's improvising. That is most obvious on "Potsa Lotsa".

Futterman has other tricks up his sleeve - or more properly in his fingers - as well. "Les", a lesser-known Dolphy line become bravura and funky, hinting at more conventional standards as he plays. Building on the theme and letting it flow, the pianist contrasts highly syncopated rubato choruses, low-frequency deep-in-the piano-innards rumbles and splintered strokes on the external keys. When it comes to pianist Mal Waldron's "Fire Waltz", famously played by Dolphy with its composer at the Five Spot, Futterman takes fewer liberties and refers more to the theme, as benefits a tune created by a pianist thoroughly grounded in Bop. Futterman's descending soulful cadences manage to capture Waldron's roots as well as his subsequent experimentation. This is no duplicate treatment though; when recapping the head, Futterman turns it inside out as he celebrates it.

Influential Jazzmen from earlier times deserve to be honored. Joel Futerrman has shown how it can be done without insulting their memory with rote imitation."-Ken Waxman

Artist Biographies

"Joel Futterman, Piano and Indian Flute

Determined to push the limits of the piano to techniques never heard in jazz, Joel began a 25-year regimen of practicing 8-10 hours a day. During this period, he developed a three-hand technique based on completely autonomous playing between the hands. With more than 70 recordings, he is considered one of the most innovative yet enigmatic new music pianists.

Known for his spirited, highly imaginative, and innovative piano technique, Joel Futterman is an internationally recognized veteran pioneer into the frontiers of spontaneous, improvised music. He is considered one of the foremost inventive and adventurous artists shaping the creative, progressive music scene today. Futterman continuously pushes the limits of the piano as he explores new musical horizons. He has performed across North America and Europe including at such noted music festivals as the Tampere Jazz Festival in Finland, the Vision Festival in New York, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and the Guelph Festival in Canada. He has performed with such notable jazz innovators as Jimmy Lyons, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Paul Murphy, Joseph Jarman, Richard Davis, William Parker, Alvin Fielder, and Hal Russell; as well as Edward 'Kidd' Jordan, with whom he has had a highly productive association. For many years, Futterman has also played the Indian Wooden Flute.

Joel Futterman was born in Chicago, IL. He grew up and lived in Chicago until 1972. Joel had piano lessons from about age 9-11, then continued playing on his own, eventually studying theory and harmony with Alan Swain. Joel met Clarence (Gene) Shaw when he was 18 and studied with Clarence for two years. Clarence was an important influence at the time. One night Clarence invited Joel to his home for a party. He introduced Joel to Charles Mingus. Joel recalls that Mingus gripped his hand firmly and stared up at the ceiling.

Joel attended University of Illinois in Chicago obtaining a (B.S.). Herman Finer, professor of political science, was a profound influence and encouraged Joel to pursue his creative endeavors.

While Joel was in college, his mother passed away and he isolated himself and began practicing 12 to 16 hours a day. Practicing was the only comfort for him at this time.

Joel attended Northeastern University in Chicago and worked on an MS in Education. He was nine hours short of receiving the degree when he decided to leave Chicago. Joel did receive an MS in Education with an endorsement in Reading at Old Dominion University in 1975.

In 1972, Joel moved to Virginia, where he resides today, in a personal quest to develop his creative voice. His first album, CAFETERIA, was released in 1980 to considerable acclaim due to its originality. Since then, his recordings have included a number of jazz legends, such as Jimmy Lyons, Richard Davis, Hal Russell, William Parker and others. In 1994, photographer Michael Wilderman introduced Joel to Edward 'Kidd' Jordan, and since then Joel has enjoyed many rewarding musical collaborations with Kidd and drummer Alvin Fielder. Also, Joel Futterman has had a deep association with artist Ike Levin, founder of the Charles Lester Label."

-Joel Futterman Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Track Listing:

1. Potsa Lotsa 8:16

2. Les 9:27

3. Out To Dinner (Part One) 1:54

4. In The Blues 7:17

5. Serene 8:52

6. Miss Ann 10:52

7. Fire Waltz 6:45

8. 17 West 13:17

9. Out To Dinner (Part Two) 3:54

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
Piano & Keyboards
Solo Artist Recordings

Search for other titles on the label:
JDF Music.

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