Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Nir Felder, III, La Reserve ***1/2

A decade on from Golden Age this latest is just as immediate. To riff on the famous Hoagy Carmichael song ''It's not the pale moon that excites me that thrills and delights me oh no. It's just the Nirness of you.'' When legendary record company …

Published: 30 May 2024. Updated: 42 days.

A decade on from Golden Age this latest is just as immediate. To riff on the famous Hoagy Carmichael song ''It's not the pale moon that excites me that thrills and delights me oh no. It's just the Nirness of you.''

When legendary record company executive Wulf Müller was at the helm of the Sony-owned freshly revivified OKeh - sadly now inactive yet again - one of the best new artist signings the great A&R man made was guitarist Nir Felder whose Golden Age was one of the best releases of 2014. Live he doesn't disappoint either as evidenced in Logan Richardson's band Shift in 2016. Following on from 2020's II, 'Longest Star' is the pick of this new studio recording from the New Yorker because of a particularly effective guitar solo where Felder goes into a fabulous Pat Metheny-like space. Felder, who is now 41, plays not only guitar, mandolin and banjo but dubs in electric sitar and feeds in other touches on keys. The bassist is James Farm star Matt Penman with Jimmy Macbride on drums who proved tasty with Nick Finzer last year on Dreams, Visions, Illusions.

There's an ethereal vocal from May Cheung way back in the mix blink and you'd miss it perhaps on the tramping feel of 'Longest Star' but still a plus factor that recalls the kind of Mark Ledford presence conveyed within the flow of a classic Metheny tune. The opener 'Mallets' is something of an outlier as Felder is on it with the great Kevin Hays, English bassist Orlando Le Fleming and Macbride and yet the compositional sense - a pastoral, sort of 1970s jazz Americana sound and vision - is the same. The twist is that Felder is winningly a bit Sco-like here although his sound is nowhere near as viscerally scalding as Scofield's can so often be. The drummer's swung feel on 'Cold Heaven' is excellent and we liked the notes that hang in the air most on thinking about the impact of 'Longest Star' again. The twinkling 'Era's End' and the lapping haven't-a-care-in-the-world feel of 'Sea of Miracles' also appeal.

Tags: Reviews

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Published: 30 May 2024. Updated: 50 days.

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