Joel Forrester Interview

Joel Forrester


Nolita Tavern, February 23, 2003:


†††††† I get a quiet few minutes to chat with pianist and composer Joel Forrester. His compositions and arrangements comprise the body if work played by People Like Us. The full interview is contained below.

A.J.: Hi, this is A.J. at Nolita Tavern on February 23rd, 2003 and itís just about 19:00 hrs. Iím here talking to Joel Forrester, pianist and composer.

Joel: Well if I were really serious A.J., Iíd be getting nervous since itís just 5 minutes to go before we start. Actually, you asked me how things are going and I think having a steady gig in one place for the band is just about the perfect set of conditions for me because it allows me to introduce new material every week. It also has me composing during the week based on what Iíve heard the individual players in the band coming out with.

A.J.: Thatís great!

Joel: I pick up things from them, yaí know, as well as the fact that they interpret what I write. So I love having a steady gig and thatís what this augers to be.

A.J.: Oh great, so this is gonnaí be something for a long term?

Joel: Iím hoping, and until the place, well I hope it does catch on! Iíll just say that.

A.J.: Itís a beautiful locale.

Joel: Yes I think so too.

A.J.: I really do like it.

Joel: Uh huhÖ

Joel: And beyond this Iím playing steadily at DrewB on Monday nights, playing solo, and also play solo Thursday nights at The Cove in Battery Park City. So my entire repertoire gets a workout these days.

A.J.: Good.

Joel: Plus, I over the last few years have been able to go over to France and play with the Parisian version of this quartet, which has Steve Potts on sax instead of Claire Daly. And also over there I play in the museums: Musee du Louvre and the Musee díOrsey, for example, for silent films.

A.J.: Beautiful!

Joel: And Iím looking forward already to later this summer when Iíll be in Paris playing with that band and playing in the museums.

A.J.: So itís the same personnel except for the switch on the saxophone?

Joel: Well itís, no itís the same, well actually, the template is the same. Itís pianoÖ

A.J.: Same configuration?

Joel: Thatís right, ah no, thereís a French bass player Jean Bardi and a French drummer Michel Poitier. Sometimes the American drummer John Fetch, whoís wonderful.

A.J.: Beautiful! How do you feel you are received over there?

Joel: Well, itís very interesting. I may not be liked as an American, but my music is getting popular over there.

A.J.: Good.

Joel: Which is very nice. When I tour, I donít just stay in Paris, but go down through the heart of France and play in small villages often, and medium sized towns.

A.J.: Great, so you get to see the people?

Joel: Thatís right and introduce my music to people who arenít necessarily even into jazz and thatís very interesting to me. But the main thing Iím happy about at the moment is that my son who is twenty, and goes,,, about to graduate from Colgate University has actually found my band a gig there!

A.J.: Great! Thatís one of the places Iíve actually been to.

Joel: Is that soÖ

A.J.: I went to a frat party up there like 1968, and it was a bizarre experience!

Joel: Well I donít doubt it. Well I think, probably I know in fact that Claire Daly has played on that campus in the past. But this would be a trio gig.

A.J.: Great.

Joel: And Iím looking forward to that. So I have a small tour in San Francisco coming in April and a solo concert in Columbus, Ohio. So things are poppiní at this moment.

A.J.: Good.

Joel: And Iím not very happy about it mostly because these events always push my composing in a new direction, and thatís what I live for!

A.J.: Inspiration?

Joel: Uh huhÖ

A.J.: Right,,, giving you ideas?

Joel: Thatís right.

A.J.: Pictures to paint?

Joel: Travel helps me, but staying in one place is even better.

Joel: And I,,, now itís time to play.

A.J.: All right Joel.

Joel: Thank you, A.J.

A.J.: Nice talkiní to you.

Joel: Very Good.

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A.J. Alfaro



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