During the late 1970’s saxophonist Phillip Johnston and pianist Joel Forrester had a chance meeting that would change both their musical and world’s scope on jazz music. It was by chance that Phillip was practicing and Joel came in and overheard him playing Thelonious Monk’s “Well You Needn’t.” Phillip thought he was waiting for his roommate but just strolled in off the street because of his love for Monk’s music. Needless to say, after many years of playing with each other in other musical units, the two formed The Microscopic Septet which now features Phillip on Soprano Sax, Don Davis on Alto Sax, Mike Hashim on Tenor Saxophone, Dave Sewelson on Bartitone Saxophone, Joel Forrester on piano, Dave Hofstra on Bass, and Richard Dworkin on Drums.
From 1980 until 1992 the Micros released four monumental records that shook-up the jazz scene to rave and stellar reviews. “Take the Z Train,” “Let’s Flip,” “Off Beat Glory,” and “Beauty Based on Science” ushered in a new era of New York City’s downtown music scene/jazz loft scene. Both Phillip and Joel’s love of “Jungle Jazz” of the 1920’s, fused with some Dixieland, and free-form jazz; was against the grain of the “Young Lions” jazz scene that was also the rave during the 1980’s.
Although the Micros never broke up, the guys would always play together in each other’s units. The Micro’s latest cd “Friday the 13th: The Micros Play Monk,” brings the the group back together interpreting music of pianist and composer Theolonious Monk.
The Microscopic Septet will be playing some selected dates. To find out upcoming tour dates or to order their latest disc, visit them on the web at microscopicseptet.com.
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