Topics Covered: Guitar, Technique, Staying Relaxed, Feeling the Rhythm, Comping, Voice Leading, Time Feel, Improvisation, Solo Guitar, Memorizing Changes, Practicing, Avoiding Burnout, Soloing Over Changes, Etc.
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Called “the next big jazz guitarist” by NPR, hailed by the New York Times as a “whiz kid”, and dubbed “incredible” by the Montreal Gazette, Nir Felder is a new voice in jazz guitar. Growing up in the New York City suburbs, Felder spent his youth playing in rock bands while learning about jazz at the local record store, inspired by icons from John Coltrane to voodoo chile Jimi Hendrix. After attending Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship, Felder moved to New York City in 2006 and quickly became one of the city’s most highly sought after sideman, notching credits in bands led by Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington (whose recent release featuring Felder on guitar won a Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Album), Jack DeJohnette, Greg Osby, Joey DeFrancesco, Eric Harland, Jose James, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Cindy Blackman and performing with the New York City Opera, Dianne Reeves, Bobby McFerrin, Stanley Clarke, Lizz Wright, Matisyahu, Black Sheep and others at venues including Radio City Music Hall and the Village Vanguard and national television stations NBC and Fox.
Encouraged by praise for his unique sound and style and seeking a more personal creative outlet, Felder formed his own group in 2010, performing sold-out shows in New York City and around Europe. A year long biweekly residency at New York’s 55 Bar followed, where Felder was joined by much of the city’s greatest talent, including Kevin Hays, Aaron Parks, Aaron Goldberg, Uri Caine, Greg Osby, Chris Potter, David Binney, Ben Street, Matt Penman, Scott Colley, John Patitucci, James Genus, Tim Lefebvre, Nate Smith, Mark Guiliana, Shawn Pelton, Ali Jackson, Keith Carlock, Anton Fig, and members of Brazilian Girls, Dub Trio, Snarky Puppy and Kneebody among many others. Says Felder, “I felt like when we played, no matter who was in the band, the audience reacted in a way that let us know that what we were doing was something they felt was missing in their musical experience, something they thought was special. Whether they were commenting on the Fender Stratocaster I played or the compositions or the improvisation, the response was always that this was something new and exciting for them, something they felt strongly about.”
Deciding to end the residency to focus on recording the music that had been developed, Nir brought Aaron Parks, Matt Penman, and Nate Smith into Sear Sound in September of 2011. The group had a strong chemistry and sound that was beautifully captured in two days of recording by engineer Chris Allen. Next, Felder tapped legendary engineer and producer Bob Power (The Roots, Erkyah Badu, D’Angelo, Tribe Called Quest, Meshell Ndegecello) to mix and master the new album. The new release, “Golden Age” (Sony/OKeh), deals with the themes of political, cultural and technological upheaval, with ennui and redemption, with paradise lost and then regained, blurring the lines between jazz and the rock, hip-hop, and pop music Felder grew up listening to.