Joel Futterman

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Relativity Review

by Steve Loewy

One of the few freestyle pianists able to sustain interest nonstop over long periods, Futterman has not only mastered the kind of energetic frenzied attack pioneered by Cecil Taylor, but Futterman is also at home in a highly sensitive mode, to which he has no difficulty shifting gears at a moment's notice. Here, he performs ten interactive duets with the formidable Jimmy Williams on electric guitar, and the two seem to fit like horse and carriage. Williams' horn-like lines are perhaps similar conceptually to fellow instrumentalist Joe Morris but with Futterman as a partner, the two duel and intertwine madly, with Futterman the dominant voice. When the pianist picks up his soprano sax or his piccolo-like wind, he is certain to surprise his devotees with his considerable technical proficiency. All told, these ten improvisations (designated as "relativity 10, 9, 8" et al.) are filled with sparks of brilliance, powerful progressive bursts, and highly sophisticated song. Sometimes the journey is timeless but at others the destination unclear; the rewards are worth the effort.

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