Unlike its enigmatic description (what does “pre–microscopic music” mean?), the material performed by pianist Joel Forrester and the Illustrious Others is on the whole quick–witted, forthright and accessible. The “others” appear in various configurations from trio to septet with Forrester’s piano unaccompanied on “Mary” and “Dr. Real.” Forrester, Dellay and Dworkin make an auspicious start with the boppish “Getting Started,” and the septet (with Hofstra on bass, Charles on drums) makes its first appearance on “Until Tomorrow,” whose dirge–like opening gives way in mid–stream to a breezy Latin rhythm behind Hirsch’s wordless vocalese (which she adds on four other tracks). “Mary,” an easygoing charmer with kinetic midsection described by Forrester as a work in progress, is followed by “He Do,” a brisk walker in 5/4 time for quintet (with Hirsch scatting, yodeling and nailing the high notes), and “Lt. Cassowary,” Forrester’s “weird” boogie for septet (with the late Lucky Ennett’s full–bodied tenor featured). Forrester returns on solo piano for the lively ragtime piece, “Dr. Real,” before he, Hofstra, Charles and saxophonist Johnston maneuver through the labyrinthine changes of Thelonious Monk’s “Work,” the septet “gives the drummer some” with its handsome “Portrait of Denis Charles” (on which Charles, who passed away last year after 23 years as Forrester’s timekeeper of choice, remains in the background doing what he did best) and wraps things up with Forrester’s brief but effective end–of–set departure theme, “A Clean Break.” An appetizing slice of mainstream Jazz, but as it was recorded in 1980, please note the LP–like 41:13 playing time.
Track listing: Getting Started; Until Tomorrow; Mary; He Do; Lt. Cassowary; Dr. Real; Work; Portrait of Denis Charles; A Clean Break (41:13).
Joel Forrester, piano; Tony Salazar, trumpet; Phillip Johnston, soprano sax; Lucky Ennett, tenor sax; Dave Hofstra, Dewey Dellay, bass; Denis Charles, Richard Dworkin, drums; Shelley Hirsch, vocals.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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