October 27, 2020
II is Nir Felder’s second album.
Golden Age, Nir Felder’s first album, was released in 2014. After graduating from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Felder quickly established himself as one of New York’s most important session players and was dubbed “whiz kid” by the New York Times and “the next big jazz guitarist” by NPR. He has collaborated with Diana Krall, Brad Mehldau, Erykah Badu, Terri Lyne Carrington, Jack DeJohnette, Meshell Ndegeocello, John Mayer, Chaka Khan, Common, Dave Chappelle, Dave Matthews Band and many more.
Six years after Golden Age Felder returns with a new album, II. The guitarist (but who also plays mandolin, Theremin, electric sitar, bass, Rhodes and synth) is accompanied by Matt Penman on acoustic bass and Jimmy Macbride on drums. The album collects an extraordinary mix of different elements: the initial “The Longest Star” is a dark electronic ballad with a particularly beautiful theme, supported (curiously) by the mandolin. “Interregnum” and “Fire in August” are two songs that mix jazz rock with electronics, and in the developments they recall the atmosphere dear to Ozric Tentacles.
“Coronation” is a splendid ballad with a hendrixian flavor while “Big Heat” has a decidedly bluesy feel. “Big Swim” is an excursion into hip-hop (drums) and electronics (synths) but the development of the song is unexpected and decidedly well constructed.
The album ends with “War Theory”, a moderate number, particularly dark and with a classical feel.
II is a record of great beauty, which has no boundaries between genres and musical approaches, and makes this aesthetic choice its main feature. In an era that (sadly) rewards very often meaningless mannerisms, it is a particularly beautiful and meaningful record.
Nir Felder II Ropeadope 2020 © Jazzespresso 2020
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