|| The Joel Futterman - 'Kidd' Jordan Quintet
Cat. No.: SHCD143
Joel Futterman piano, curved soprano saxophone, Indian flute
Edward 'Kidd' Jordan tenor saxophone
Mats Gustafsson tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone
Barry Guy acoustic bass
Alvin Fielder drums
1. Hear With You (Futterman, Jordan, Gustafsson, Guy, Fielder) 1:21
2. Soul Mates (Futterman, Jordan) 9:01
3. Meeting Place (Futterman, Gustafsson, Guy) 6:41
4-10. Nickelsdorf Summit (F, J, G, G, F) 44:09
4. Part One 7:55
5. Part Two 7:58
6. Part Three 3:17
7. Part Four 6:48
8. Part Five 5:24
9. Part Six 5:55
10. Part Seven 6:49
11. Fournier (F, J, G, G, F) 5:16
12. Going With You (F, J, G, G, F) 3:14
Total time: 68:33
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"For lovers of this music, here is a disc with a definitive place reserved
for it, a very lofty place."
Gustave Cerutti, Improjazz, October 1996
"(Futterman) can zip out those tone clusters, which have given him a reputation
as a Taylorite, but there is much variation in density sometimes on this
CD the clusters metamorphose into quiet little sprinkles in the top octave of
the piano. His ability to move from keys to strings and back again continues to
impress. Co-leader Edward 'Kidd' Jordan's duet with Futterman on Soul Mates
is an excellent sample of his art; he always counterbalances his harshest outpourings
with heartfelt lyricism. Elsewhere the music fares best when Jordan is setting
the tone, as in the balladic first half of Nickelsdorf Summit, Part Two.
Even when the proceedings begin to babble in tongues à la late-period Coltrane,
his line is readily discernable and always coherent. Alvin Fielder contributes
mobile drumming in the tradition of Ed Blackwell; just check out what he does
on the tom-toms, and savor the solo that opens his piece in honor of Vernell Fournier
(another key member of the New Orleans drumming fraternity).
Robert L. Campbell, Cadence, April 1997
Nat Hentoff wrote the following in his liner notes for Joel Futterman's 1984 album, Inneraction, "True musicians have an irrepressible urge and a need to share their strongest, most delicate, most spontaneous feelings."
In his fourth release for Silkheart Records, Futterman still displays that irrepressible
urge. However, over the last decade the urge has been transformed and channeled
into a highly focused, disciplined school of through-composed, what the Germans
once called durchkomponiert, improvisational music. Thought of in less analytical
terms, Futterman is continuing to define the once sole purview of Coltrane - that
musical tradition of playing extended sets without repeating oneself. Long misunderstood
though, Trane's vision, and now Futterman's, is not about playing 'free' or playing
'out'. And it is not about predetermined notions of what jazz is, or was, or should
be. It is about musicians composing in the moment, resolving one phrase with the
next, and through the process of continuous resolution, arriving at a place not
Just as Joel Futterman's vision has evolved over the past decade, so too have
his musical associations. This CD features his strongest co-leader since Jimmy
Lyons, Edward 'Kidd' Jordan on tenor saxophone. In fact, one reviewer termed their
association, the 'Twin Axis of Power'. These two musical soul mates are finally
delivering Trane's long sought promise for his music: that sense of being, derived
from the compositional clarity of musicians truly interacting musically in the
Like Futterman, 'Kidd' Jordan has labored most of his professional life in relative
obscurity to all but the most avid jazz fans. Living and working from New Orleans
for more than 40 years, he has developed a very personal musical conception based
on a fundamental philosophy. As 'Kidd' describes it, "Jazz is an improvised music.
It is in constant change." This philosophy is in large part why he and Futterman
have found such a complementary resonance in their musical concept of continuous
movement and resolution within the context of the jazz tradition.
If resolving the dichotomy seemingly rested between improvisation and composition
was not enough, this first release by Futterman and Jordan also displays a seamless
resolution of two dissimilar jazz traditions: the European tradition steeped in
atonality, and the American tradition steeped in the blues.
From the European jazz tradition, this recording features two of its most prominent
proponents, veteran Barry Guy on bass and Mats Gustafsson on tenor and baritone
saxophones. Guy, whose London Jazz Composers Orchestra recently marked its 25th
anniversary, clearly not only understands the vision of his co-leaders, but is
able to articulate that understanding in an extended musical context. In doing
so, he brings to this music a highly refined concept of pulse, as opposed to time,
within the framework of a virtuoso technique.
Mats Gustafsson, one of Sweden's foremost new music performers is the enfant
terrible of the group. Mats is always pushing and reaching for that next level
of sound. In this recording, his continuous pursuit of the unknown provides a
selective counterpoint to the cool refined sound of 'Kidd' Jordan that keeps the
music's tonality continuously moving forward .
Rounding out the quintet is Alvin Leroy Fielder, Jr., on drums and percussion.
Alvin, like the co-leaders, is a remarkably under-documented drummer in the finest
American jazz tradition. A scholar of the Amencan jazz drumming tradition, especially
that of Ed Blackwell, and one of the onginal members of the Association for the
Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Alvin has finally found a musical resting
place in the Futterman - Jordan home.
In this recording's first and umcharacteristically (for Futterman) short selection,
Hear With You, the listener is treated to the whimsical side of Futterman and
'Kidd' as they run the quintet through its paces. The close interplay the co-leaders
exhibit in this opening miniature -trading phrases on and off the beat with one
another as well as with the rest of the group only serves to set up the listener
for what is yet to come.
Futterman and Jordan have been performing together for about a year and Soul Mates
personifies the closeness they have developed during this period. The piece also
reflects the development of their compositional philosophies which are based on
taking the best of the American jazz tradition and pushing the tradition beyond
the paradigms that have bound it up since the late sixties. What seemingly begins
as a harmonically interesting extended performance with 'Kidd' stretching the
upper registers of his horn and Joel virtually using every inch of the piano,
slowly but inexorably resolves to a beautiful ballad in the finest jazz tradition.
It is this concept of continuous resolution in Soul Mates that provides a picture
window view of not only where these two musicians have been, but more importantly,
where they are going. While there is no question that the echoes of Trane, Shepp,
Ayler, and Coleman are present in Jordan's compositional conceptions, the operative
word is 'echoes'. Although there are few such 'echoes' in Futterman's playing,
due largely in part to his self imposed isolation for the past two decades, this
duet is clearly spawned from the finest mainstream of the American jazz tradition.
By contrast, Meeting Place, a trio with Futterman, Guy, and Gustafsson is squarely
in the mainstream of the modern European jazz tradition. This piece showcases
the very physical 'in your face' style that has become a trademark of Mats' playing,
but done so in a sophisticated compositional structure. The five-part structure
serves to both focus the strength of Mats' reedwork technique while providing
a context for its development. Each of this piece's five parts are bridged by
a duet of Barry performing some very subtle arco work with Joel working inside
the piano with the precision of a harpist. On either side of the bridges, Mats
explores every possible sonorous nook and cranny of his instruments. Behind Mats,
Barry and Joel maintain a continuous current of compositional development that
ultimately resolves itself in a most unexpected manner. Meeting places can be
public or private, planned or unplanned; this piece describes each.
Building on the musical conceptions displayed in their duet, Futterman and Jordan
bring all the members of the quintet together in the centerpiece of this recording,
Nickelsdorf Summit. In almost 45 minutes, divided among seven continuous parts
each with its own distinct personality, this composition explores the extreme
reaches of the best each musician has to offer - within a unified whole. In this
piece, Futterman continuously shifts from inside to outside the piano, while using
his curved soprano and Indian flute for coloring, in a continual search for the
next resolution and phrase. All the while, Jordan continuously changes the moods,
colors, and melodic constructs of the music. In doing so, they not only continuously
trade phrases with one another, but keep the music moving in a direction that
fully integrates each of the other three members.
Fournier opens with an extended drum solo by Alvin Fielder, one of the rare instances
that the spotlight has moved his way. This piece is based on another composition,
Four For Fournier, that Alvin wrote for his longtime friend, Vernel Fournier,
while Vernel was recovering from a stroke. Always the consummate sideman and gentleman,
Fielder seeks to blend his style of playing with the musicians around him. Or,
as Alvin says, "Similar conception in thought." In doing so, he brings no preconceived
conceptions about the music's rhythms to the studio. As very aptly shown in this
piece, Alvin is content to let the music flow, only seeking to be its rhythmic
With this recording, Joel Futterman and 'Kidd' Jordan have crafted a quintet performance
that represents the purity of the jazz tradition - a purity that harkens back
to another time. In its purity though, this music also holds the promise of the
future. So, this recording closes with the bookend of its opener, Going With You.
Just as Hear With You sets up the listener for the rest of this recording, Going
With You, sets up the listener for what is to come.
Philip R. Egert