Please contact me if you'd like to set up an interview with the Micros' co-leaders and co-composers, Phillip Johnston and/or Joel Forrester. Please also contact me to discuss the possibilities of radio performances or other shows.
Please also contact me if you need more information, or a promo copy (digital or physical) of the album Friday the 13th: The Micros Play Monk.
P.O. Box 8427
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Dear friends in Press and Radio,
In the next couple of months, the Microscopic Septet will be making appearances on the USA's East and West Coasts to support its new Cuneiform release, Friday the 13th: The Micros Play Monk. Don't miss your opportunities to see this amazing (and amusing) jazz group in action. The Micros are co-led by composer/ arranger/ saxophonist Phillip Johnston & composer/ arranger/ pianist Joel Forrester, who may well be the most talented composer/arranger team in contemporary American jazz In November, Johnston & Forrester will tour and perform as a duo on the West Coast. In December, the complete Microscopic Septet will perform in New York City.
In addition to these 2010 shows, the Microscopic Septet is currently planning a Summer 2011 tour that will include shows in the USA and Europe.
If you'd like to schedule a concert with the band, or if you want to do an in-person interview with Johnston & Forrester while on tour, please contact Cuneiform for more information.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MONK!
THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC & FOR
INSPIRING CREATIVE MUSICIANS EVERYWHERE TO 'GO YOUR OWN WAY'
(You were right: eventually they DO come around ;-) CONGRATULATIONS!)
-= THE MICRO-MICROS =-
WEST COAST TOUR
NOVEMBER 19 -29, 2010
Microscopic Septet Co-leaders Phillip Johnston & Joel Forrester tour the USA's West Coast as a DUO!
November 21, 2010 @ 12 noon-2:30PM
Joel Forrester/Phillip Johnston Duo
923 E. 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA
November 21, 2010 @ 8PM
Joel Forrester/Phillip Johnston Duo
Tango del Rey
3567 Del Rey Stree
San Diego, CA
November 26, 2010 @ 8PM
Joel Forrester/Phillip Johnston Duo
The Hilside Club,
2286 Cedar St.
November 27, 2010
Palo Alto, CA
**** Attention ****
Dates for the West Coast tour are still being confirmed and booked. If you would like to schedule an on-air performance, concert or interview with the Joel Forrester/Phillip Johnston duo, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
-= THE MICROSCOPIC SEPTET=-
CD Launch Gigs for
FRIDAY THE 13TH
December 2, 2010 @ 6PM-7:30PM
The Microscopic Septet perform a single set.
315 W 44th St New York NY 10036
phone 212 581 3080
$20 (in advance or at door)
December 11, 2010
The Microscopic Septet perform two sets (at least!)
The Hotel Gershwin
7 E. 27th St New York NY 10016
phone 212 545 8000
$25 at door (no advance sales)
:: VISIT THE MICROSCOPIC SEPTET ONLINE ::
The Microscopic Septet
Friday the 13th: The Micros Play Monk
“If the Micros have a spiritual beacon, it’s Thelonious Monk. Like the maverick bebop pianist, they persevere... Their expanding core audience thrives on the group’s impeccable arrangements, terse, angular solos, and devil-may-care attitude. But Monk and the Micros have something else in common as well.
Johnston tells a story: “Someone once walked up to Monk and said, “You know, Monk, people are laughing at your music.’ Monk replied, ‘Let ‘em laugh. People need to laugh a little more.”
– Richard Gehr, Newsday, New York 1989
“There is immense power and careful logic in the music of Thelonious Sphere Monk. But you might have such a good time listening to it that you might not even notice. …His tunes… warmed the heart with their odd angles and bright colors. …he knew exactly how to make you feel good… The groove was paramount: When you’re swinging, swing some more,” he’d say. .”
–Vijay Iyer, “Ode to a Sphere,” JazzTimes, 2010
The late jazz composer and pianist Thelonious Sphere Monk (1917-82) is one of the top creative deities in the pantheon of American Jazz Greats. He is one of jazz’s greatest composers; Penguin Guide to Jazz notes that Monk’s “output ranks with that of Morton and Ellington.” Monk’s tunes, once considered radical and appreciated by only a small cognoscenti, are now beloved standards, and may well be the most frequently covered jazz tunes on recordings. His creative brilliance continues to resonate over time; a surge of interest in the composer this year has led 2010 to be called “the Year of the Monk.”
The music of Thelonious Monk, as it escaped the windows of a Downtown New York apartment, was the catalyst that sparked the creation of one of New York’s most legendary and important jazz groups, the Microscopic Septet. Since it was founded in 1980, under the co-leadership and co-compostional duties of soprano saxophonist and composer Phillip Johnston and pianist and composer Joel Forrester, “the Micros” have been responsible for creating some of the most captivating and memorable original tunes and performing some of the most entertaining shows in the past 40 years of American jazz. In 1974, the Monk tune: “Well You Needn’t” first brought the future Micros co-leaders together by chance. Johnston was living in the Bowery at the time, and Forrester, hearing music, barged into his apartment, unannounced: “I was playing a Thelonious Monk tune, and a guy I had never seen before came walking through my door, which wasn’t locked- those were the hippie days…” The encounter sparked a friendship and working relationship, in which Monk’s music reverberated on multiple levels across the years. Another chance encounter – at chicken and ribs place West Boondock, following his performance of Monk’s “Pannonica” on the restaurant’s piano – forged Forrester’s friendship with the Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter. And through the Baroness, Forrester would ultimately meet and periodically play piano for Monk.
Since Johnston and Forrester’s first meeting, Monk’s music has remained an inspiration and guiding light throughout their music careers – and across more than 4-decades. In addition to creating and playing their own music, they always played Monk’s music: as a duo, in Forrester’s quartets and large groups, and, from the band’s very beginning in 1980, with the Microscopic Septet. Micros gigs always included their arrangements of Monk tunes, but due to the Micros’ limited number of releases (5 albums) and their copious original songbook (more than 180 tunes), they only previously recorded Forrester’s arrangement of Monk’s ‘Crepuscle For Nellie.’
[L-R: Phillip Johnston, Joel Forrester, Don Davis, Dave Hofstra, Mike Hashim, Richard Dworkin, Dave Sewelson ]
The new Micros CD released on Cuneiform, Friday The 13th: The Micros Play Monk rectifies this omission. Featuring original arrangements of 12 Monk tunes, half from “back in the day” and half newly-written for this recording, the Microscopic Septet make clear their line of descent from Monk. The humor and angularity of Monk’s compositions mesh easily and joyfully with the elaboration and juxtaposition of the Micros-style arranging. Definitively not a dry deconstruction, this is a true celebration of Monk by a group that can arguably be called his most sensitive and sensational heirs.
Featuring gorgeous art work by New Yorker artist Barry Blitt – the man responsible for the infamous and controversial "Michelle and Barack 'fist-bump'" cover and other contentious-yet-humorous artwork- and liner notes by jazz critic and long-time Micros fan Peter Keepnews, Friday the 13th is surprising yet inevitable: a long overdue party with the master, at which The Micros Play Monk.
Friday the 13th arrives amidst a perfect storm of works in multiple media devoted to or about Monk. Dubbed by Jazz Times as ‘Year of the Monk’, 2010 has thus far witnessed a biographical book on Monk by Robin Kelley, a documentary film on Monk’s patron and friend Pannonica, called The Jazz Baroness, and several Cds of Monk tunes by various musicians. Transcending mere tribute, the Microscopic Septet’s Friday the 13th distills Monk’s heady and humoorous essence, revives his iconoclastic spirit, and revels in, and with, the creative compositions of Monk.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE MICROSCOPIC SEPTET, SEE:
WHAT THE PRESS IS SAYING ABOUT
FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE MICROS PLAY MONK:
A BLOG SUPREME: NPR JAZZ
•"How Do You Cover Thelonious Monk? ...
The Microscopic Sextet seems like an ensemble particularly suited to doing something smart with Monk's music. The band's original music has a certain innate whimsy, backed by serious musicianship..."Gallop's Gallop," given new life by Phillip Johnston, sports that staggered, sloppy-on-purpose drag of an introduction, then a tactful soprano sax plus snare-and-bass duet, and Joel Forrester's piano solo making sense of the madness. ...The whole thing doesn't flatten out the curves and spikes; it makes them stand out more."
–Patrick Jarenwattananon, A Blog Supreme 10/8/10
POINT OF DEPARTURE
•Micros on the cover in this month's Point of Departure webmag: www.pointofdeparture.org
•"What's New: POD Roundtable" interview with Phillip Johnston, Joel Forrester and Bill Shoemaker: www.pointofdeparture.org/PoD31/PoD31WhatsNew.html
•FRIDAY THE 13TH reviewed:
"There have been plenty of Monk tributes throughout the years, some worthwhile, many forgettable, but few with the intrinsic connection to the material that The Micros Play Monk exudes. Though widely revered for his harmonic and rhythmic advancements, Monk was as much an advocate of the tradition as he was an innovator. The Microscopic Septet has championed a similar inside/outside attitude for almost three decades, long may they persevere."-Troy Collins, POD www.pointofdeparture.org/PoD31/PoD31MoreMoments4.html
CLOUDS AND CLOCKS
•FRIDAY THE 13TH reviewed:
...Friday The Thirteenth is an excellent album.
...The septet works like a clock, in a territory halfway between Monk's Music and At Town Hall. All arrangements are very good: it's "Monk à la Micro", but it's never forced.
...Pannonica is performed to perfection. ...Really, really beautiful. ...
Epistrophy is the brief, good, appropriate close to this fine album."–Beppe Colli