Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Joel Futterman and the Possibilities of Improvisation

Originally posted on April 1, 2009

For avant improvisational pianists following in the wake of Cecil Taylor, velocity is an important aspect of the musical panorama. They often thrive when they “get something GOING.” The movement of notes from A to B and the nature of that journey are parts of what succeeds or fails at any particular moment in the improvisation.

Joel Futterman is one of the handful of supercharged pianists out there right now whose velocity can drive the music down an avant autobahn of the most well-constructed sort. He shows this trait clearly and aesthetically on his Ayler download release Possibilities. It’s not like we are dealing with some musical machine. There’s a wholly organic process. To my mind he has been one of the very best practitioners of motoristic barrages and this solo date gives plenty of musical attention to how his playing style develops naturally out of an expression, a line or a mode of attack. There is nothing forced or pretentious in operation here.

The music is as soulful as Ray Charles but captures the spirit of a deep commitment to musical “signifying” in a very different way, going for it in a whirlwind, avalanche, tornado or volcano of sound. Now you pretty much either hate it or love it, I suspect. Your response will come from the same inner life-force that controls his playing. Possibilities is one of the best recordings Futterman has produced. Try it. Love it. Hate it. That’s your contribution to this music. www.ayler.com is where to find the download.

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