Joel Forrester and the Illustrious Others: Pre-Microscopic Music Circa 1980
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.