Joel's bio (rivetting)
JOEL NEWTON is a New York-based guitarist, composer and bandleader exploring the interplay among jazz, blues, folk, classical, avant-garde, and other musical traditions. Moving to the city in 1993 at age 25, Joel began a busy career as a leader and sideman, earning him a secure place as a contributor to the City’s ever-changing, cutting-edge “downtown” scene. His music reflects his broad-based background in its hybridized stylistic variety.
All About Jazz describes Joel’s music as “smart and appealingly new, an astounding mix… with intergalactic travels… irony and contrast aplenty… eloquent and passionate… introspective quietude interspersed with explosive energy” and ranks him “on a par with seminal players like Bill Frisell and Ben Monder." The Joel Newton Situation, described by the Village Voice as “a sort of Medeski, Martin, and Mahavishnu,” made a name for itself at New York City’s Knitting Factory in the late 90’s with a long-running residency, delving deep into the outer reaches of sound and groove exploration. Since then, Joel has worked with many of New York’s jazz luminaries, such as Dave Binney, Donny McCaslin, Steven Bernstein, Christian Howes, Matt Shulman, Shane Endsley, Fay Victor, D.D. Jackson, Ben Stivers, Adam Klipple, and Dan Weiss. He has toured the States and Canada with his own groups and others’.
Growing up on Long Island, Joel began folk and classical guitar lessons at age 7, then shifted gears in high school and started emulating the standard rock icons of the 70's and 80's. After hearing Jeff Beck and Pat Metheny, Joel began a slow trajectory toward jazz, which strengthened through independent ensemble experience at Dartmouth College (where he was pre-med and decided last-minute not to attend medical school), and culminated in 3 years at William Paterson College studying Jazz Performance. Since then, Joel has been returning to his rock, blues, classical, folk, and fusion roots and mixing them all up with jazz and avant-garde every way he can.
Beyond his own groups, Joel has worked extensively with violin-virtuoso Christian Howes; the two have toured in a co-lead band and played in each other's groups, notably with repeat performances at NYC's 55 Bar. Joel has also contributed to a host of pop/rock projects, including touring and recording with rock singer/songwriter Cat Dail and recordings and performances with folk-rock singer/songwriter Soren Song. Joel plays regularly with jazz-rock virtuoso David Budway, as well as a new power trio, FIG, with Scott Hogan and Frank Colonnato.
Most recently, Joel became part of the Nyack-based group, Nyack Community Standards, led by trumpeter Steven Bernstein. The band pays tribute to jazz and rock classics with a healthy dose of adventure and poetic license.
Prior to his two recent "pandemic” albums, "Out of and Into” and “New Now," Joel recorded two CD's with the Joel Newton Situation ("ONE" in 2000 and "Crying and Laughing" in 2006). Both releases were the culmination of years of steady performing with the respective lineups and exemplify Joel's dedication to the development of a band sound as a vehicle for composition and distinctive group improvisation. A collaborative recording with violinist Christian Howes, “Trail Magic,” was released in 2017.