Four solo imporovisations from pianist Joel Futterman, starting with the nearly 20-minute "Blues For Ronnie" dedicated to his brother Ronald, a lyrical and soulful work that reflects traditional blues and ragtimes forms within a modern perspective, alongside 3 other rich works of the strong technical and melodic skill that define Futterman's mastery and intentions.
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Label: Creation Music
Catalog ID: CM 20
Squidco Product Code: 29597
Packaging: Cardboard Sleeve Sealed
Recorded at James River Audio and Media, at Newport News, Virginia, on February 24th, 2012, by Benjamin Tomassetti.
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• Show Bio for Joel Futterman
"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 (www.joelfutterman.com/about.htm)
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1. Blues For Ronnie 20:20
2. Swingin' On Brynmawr 9:55
3. Reflections 9:45
4. Movin' On 20:48
sample the album:
"Pianist Joel Futterman's search is a disarmingly personal one. Its process captured on recordings often appears to be a wholly group-oriented activity, which Futterman's long list of shared conversations with Kidd Jordan and Ike Levin (saxophones), Alvin Fielder and Robert Adkins (drums), and William Parker (bass) can attest to. These are often blistering sets of bright, energetic dialogue that's rooted in the tradition. But especially in "free music," the unaccompanied performance is often treated as language development rather than blank-mind exploration, chiefly because the assumption has been made (and it's not always invalid) that without a foil, one's chances of harping on clichés or isolating oneself increases. But Futterman is an extraordinarily "free" pianist, spontaneously developing clusters, masses, and brushy runs on an equal footing with stride, boogie-woogie, and lushly modern romanticism. In the last four years, he has released fifteen albums of solo piano ranging from responsive outpourings (The Fall, inspired by a physical accident) to music reflecting on the work of Eric Dolphy and Albert Ayler.
Blues for My Brother is the latest installment, a dedication to Ronald Futterman that begins with rolling and earthy improvisations that make connections where they are patently unexpected. Futterman's approach to the blues and ragtime is interesting, because it's shot through with a penchant for coiled, spiky and pointillist right hand motion. For a player who can superimpose broad keyboard strokes and create a hell of a lot of mass, he's extraordinarily deft and light on his feet, which I suppose one has to be in order to retain a semblance of physicality. "Blues for Ronnie" is the first of four improvisations, with Futterman's easy left hand roll supporting glassy, upper-register snatches and pulpit-pounding declarations. It doesn't take long for parallel voices to emerge from his left and right hands; although inextricably tied together, Futterman's inventions seem to move in different directions, almost in auto-dialogue. While there's a constant rhythmic refrain, Futterman begins to pull phrases together into deep, resonant swipes and volcanic asides, alternately harping on the piano's roiling depths and producing bare-knuckled trills. At the heart of this internal commentary is whimsy, offsetting an admittedly fascinating tension.
"Swingin' on Bryn Mawr" is partially an ode to the pianist's hometown of Chicago, an oddly hushed and skipping funk set against glassine flourishes, resonant clambering and blocks of color. Futterman is detailed and romantic on "Reflections," mixing piano string rustles into a lush but moody sketch, as suspended chords create a complex substrate, and single notes provide terse and open-ended accents. The set closes with the explosive "Movin' On," a twenty-minute odyssey that retains a toe-tapping groove, despite powerful glissandi and an impossibly particulate rumble. Overall there is a distinct and unabashed beauty in Blues for My Brother, as well as subtle humor and phrases that continually question their surroundings. If this captures the relationship of Joel and Ronald Futterman, and his brother's influence, no greater gift could be imagined. But these four pieces also are imbued with the same spark that one finds in all of the pianist's solo and group music, so the result is that this disc is one part of a larger opus that's only starting to become clear."-Clifford Allen, Point of Departure
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