Joel Harrison premiere at Roulette

The newly revived Roulette (on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn) is the site for a premiere this coming Friday (details here). Guitarist-composer Joel Harrison’s Still Point – Turning World (a veiled reference to a line from “Burnt Norton,” one T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets) is a polyglot work for diverse forces. In addition to Harrison’s jazz quartet, it also features the Talujon Percussion Quartet, and Anupam Shobhakar, who plays the sarode, an Indian stringed instrument.

Still Point… requires its performers to be in a flexible collaboration, reveling in polystylism. “Crossover” is a term that’s overused and sometimes misused these days. All too often the results of less cohesive collaborations find the musicians from multiple styles working at crossed purposes or, worse, musicians from different traditions uneasily try on each others’ chops for size.

One doesn’t get this sense from Harrison’s creative activities. Instead he seeks likeminded musicians who are interested in creating a sophisticated synthesis of different genres, based on mutual support, respect, and plenty of listening to one another.

He says, “I’m willing to bet that in ten years time, many more musicians will be comfortable playing both jazz and classical, and performing music from many traditions.”

Harrison’s ensembles aim to be pathfinders in this regard. Come to Roulette on Friday and witness these musical frontiersmen!

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