Man of many arts: Jazz artist creates music, movies, and a murder mystery

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JC Hopkins is releasing an album on April 5, a book next month and a screenplay this summer.
Photo courtesy of JC Hopkins

He’s got biggish plans! 

A Windsor Terrace polymath will launch a jazz album, a crime novel, and an indie film over the course of the next few months. Up first for JC Hopkins will be an album recorded with his Biggish Band — a 10-piece jazz orchestra complete with four vocalists. Hopkins said that some of the tunes on “New York Moment,” set to be released on April 5, have wound up being unintentionally appropriate for the current topsy-turvy moment in the city. 

“This album is almost inadvertently topical in a way,” Hopkins said. “It sings of trying to make sense of a world that is a little discombobulated and has been in a quite obvious way.”

The twice Grammy-nominated jazz pianist, producer, and songwriter described the lyrics on his new release as part of a conversation, which he paired with melodies that he hopes will resonate with listeners. 

“Attached to that melody line is a lyric that is of a personal nature, in the sense that is mostly one person talking to another person,” he said. “It’s trying to explain how I feel about the other person, about life, or whatever it is.” 

Several of those songs make up the soundtrack of the upcoming movie “Poets are the Destroyers,” for which Hopkins also wrote the screenplay. The film, tentatively slated for release this summer, was inspired by weekly poetry readings in Williamsburg, where Hopkins heard verses from a diverse range of young Brooklynites. When Hopkins taught a screenwriting workshop alongside the film’s future director Nancy Pop, he said that it all came together. 

“People say ‘Let’s do it’ all the time, but the next thing I knew she was like ‘When can you have it done?’ ” Hopkins said. “They just made it happen that summer.” 

The artist’s upcoming crime novel, “The Perfect Fourth,” draws inspiration from his musical life. The book’s main character is a Brooklyn pianist, although this one has a two broken hands, a dead ex-wife, and a shady girlfriend who might be a killer. The book, his third, will be published by Noir Nation next month.

The musician, author, playwright, and screenwriter said that he is able to juggle so many projects because he feels passionately about each of them and because he collaborates with like-minded creators. 

“When I get inspired, things move pretty quickly,” he said. “It’s a combination of having a clear vision of what I want to do and also working with talented people who are aligned with my ultimate goal.”

“New York Moment” will be available on all major streaming platforms on April 5. 

“The Perfect Fourth” will be available on noirnation.com in April.