photo by Kurt Miller
Joel Futterman’s music has the ability to create an enjoyable shift in human consciousness, one designed to help the listener either become more consciously aware of his/her surroundings or to become more aware of sensations, thoughts and images within our own mind and body. - Robert Sigler
Spontaneously created improvised music not only requires skilled musicianship, but also courage and unbounded reservoir of imagination.
Yet what is often not acknowledged is that it also demands enormous physical stamina and endurance. Highly concentrated listening combined with unrestrained emotional expression that bares the soul place enormous physical demands on an artist like Joel Futterman. This music, while created fully “in–the–moment,” is not by any means totally “free.” While the music is void of preconceived directions and does not conform readily to traditional music structures and conventional sensibilities of harmony, tonality, or rhythm, it is by no means random. Through intense focused listening, Joel Futterman remains highly attuned and responsive to each phrase, connection, resolution, mood, dynamic, and any transition that evolves. This produces a remarkable coherency to the music.
Joel Futterman plays off the textures and sounds created by each phrase. From the depths of calm and tranquility to the heights of raw emotionalism expressed at blistering tempos, each musical phrase is declared with intention and true purpose. Musical ideas are expanded on or redirected at times to generate creative tension. Each phrase is then masterfully resolved with the same deliberateness. Conscious use of space and silence is used collectively to frame and thereby, crystallize musical ideas. While this use of space and silence is more pronounced during the ballad-like excursions when the tempo is slowed and the richness of lyrical forms expanded, is also quite evident during the more up-tempo pieces where musical ideas are fired off with mind boggling speed superimposing and layering over each other as they meld and build to near explosive levels. Transitions within the musical journey itself are so smoothly and flawless that they are not recognizable until the change is completed and suddenly we are aware that the composition has taken a new direction. Such is the potency of this coherency that is incredulous to grasp that the music was not pre-conceptualized or “pre-scored.” It is that Joel Futterman’s artistic expression is based in the communion of instinct, emotion, and spirit.
Throughout the diverse forays and excursions that comprise Joel Futterman’s artistry, there are subtle references to the musical heritage that has influenced Joel Futterman’s creative expression. Whether it is the mournful bluesy cries, the elegantly complex and open chord sequences, the bop –inspired poly-rhythms, or the interactive improvisations that draw from the “shouts” and “field calls” that have formed the basis of modern jazz, tribute is paid to significant musical inventions of the past. However, Joel Futterman never succumbs to the comfort of cliches or the predictability of formulaic patterns. Instead, Joel Futterman searches and probes endlessly without hesitation for unchartered pathways into unexplored territory. The musical quest for Joel Futterman is much an adventure as it is for the listener.
So close your eyes, empty your mind. Let your preconceptions and expectations dissolve and fade away. And let Joel Futterman’s music take you on a journey of varied images, impressions, and emotions.
Joel Futterman’s music is music for your soul.
Written by Ike Levin
“Joel Futterman invents both aesthetic and composition, his work is entirely his own. His artistry is a symphony of brilliance.”
Swedish Public Radio
“Intellect connects with feelings and desire… a musician in full communication with himself and others.”
“Futterman's music is indelibly his own. When an artist of such range focuses on making a music that is continually new to his vision and capabilities, it is clear that such art is completely of necessity.”
William T. Young
“For those who value jazz experimentation at its most audacious and fiercely committed”