Joel Futterman (born April 30, 1946 in Chicago) is an American jazz pianist and curved soprano saxophonist. He has appeared on more than 70 recordings as of 2012.
A native of Chicago, Joel Futterman was influenced both musically and philosophically by Gene Shaw, with whom he worked with and studied for a few years. Also, Joel Futterman was influenced by Joseph Schwartzbaum, a writer, poet, and philosopher, as well as his brother Ronald. His influences include Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, and Eric Dolphy.
From 1964 to 1969, Joel Futterman played bebop and other forms of jazz in various settings in Chicago. During this period he had a chance to play with Rahssan Roland Kirk. He played with artists affiliated with the AACM, but eventually left Chicago, moving to Virginia Beach in 1972, where he resides today. His first album, Cafeteria, was released in 1979. Since then, Joel Futterman's recordings have included a number of jazz legends such as Jimmy Lyons, Richard Davis, and Hal Russell. In the 1980s he released several albums of material on his own label, JDF. After Lyons's death in 1986, Futterman quit working professionally for a time; some of their performances together were reissued in the 1990s.
Joel eventually returned to active performance. Some of his older material was reissued on Ear-Rational,((Konnex Records)), Bellaphon Records and Silkheart Records around this time. In 1994 Joel Futterman met Kidd Jordan, who introduced him to Alvin Fielder, and this trio has performed and recorded together for years. Also, Joel Futterman has performed with Greg Foster, Paul Murphy, Joseph Jarman, Jay Oliver, Ike Levin, and William Parker. Labels that have released his music include: JDF, Silkheart Records, Charles Lester Music and others.
Joel Futterman is also the author of two books. Creative Patterns is a non-fiction book about the creative process and improvisation. The Design is an existential mystery.
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