Featuring James Wylie (alto saxophone &
clarinet), Steve Brickman (tenor saxophone), Shai Maestro
(piano, rhodes, organ), Avri Borochov (bass), Ziv Ravitz
(drums) and special guest Itamar Borochov (trumpet).
“So Far' is guitarist Nadav Remez's long-awaited debut release, and presents nine new original pieces that draw influences from modern jazz, alternative rock as well as jewish and middle-eastern folk. It may be called a concept album, as the order of songs as well as the connection between them reveals a bigger picture. The songs on 'So Far' lead into one another just like chapters in a story with a beginning, middle and end. The improvised solos also correspond to this concept, and starting the second song, each pair of songs features a different soloist, like characters that appear in different parts of a fairy tale.
So Far - The album kicks-off with this short title track. It was the last tune to be written, though the idea main theme has been around for quite a while. This is an ensemble piece and has no improvised solos, but all the individual voices in the band are expressed to the fullest. This song sets the mood for the rest of the listening experience. It also secretly serves as an overture for the album, containing different melodic, harmonic and rhythmic elements from the rest of the songs.
Pinchas - With a simple, straight-forward melody and groove, this tune is perhaps the most ear-catching in the album. I wrote it in the summer of 2009, inspired by a TV live concert of Eric Harland's band I had watched the night before. There are two solos on this tune - the first one is mine, and the second one is of Shai Maestro, whose solo is absolutely out of this world. This track is the third take of the entire two-day recording session, and features the freshest, most-driving playing by the entire band.
Inner Peace - This one started out as a writing exercise at NEC, but quickly entered into the recording's repertoire. The first part is based on the chords for Joe Henderson's tune 'Inner Urge', played as a ballad. The two horns play the melody gracefully, before Shai Maestro goes on an adventurous piano solo. The band recaps the melody and together with Shai, they climb up to a fantastic climax that resolves into the second part of the song, with different chords and groove, which I take a solo on, eventually building up into a new melody that takes us home. I like to think of the first part as having an unsettled 'searching' mood, and the transition to the second part as a moment of revelation that leads into the second part, that has more of a 'catharsis' mood.
The Last Exile - The inspiration to this piece came from a thought that I had of a world after all wars have ended, and two people sitting on a back porch, reflecting back on the times of uncertainty. They cry, they laugh. But over all, they are thankful for all they had to go through. The melody portrays those sentimental moments, and the solo that Brickman and I share, even though it is a little more intense than sitting at a back porch, sounds to me like that imaginary conversation.
Untitled - Written on the same day as Pinchas, this is another solo-heavy track, featuring Brickman and myself improvising on this more upbeat song. This song has Shai playing Hammond B3 organ on it, which gives the album a major turn. I always like to think of this song as the beginning of the 'B-side' of the album, or the second act, as it leads into some more intense playing, and brings the listener closer to the album's conclusion.
Lecha Dodi - This piece is an arrangement of a Jewish religious song that is sung on Friday Night in synagogues, welcoming the Sabbath. Different communities around the world have different melodies for this song, and I chose two and brought them together in this album. The piece starts off with an inspired improvisation by guest trumpetist Itamar Borochov, who uses a unique technique that allows him to play quarter-tones, similar to Arabian instruments such as the Ney and the Oud. The first melody is then played by the band, and then goes to an alto solo by James Wylie. Wylie, too, has an interesting way of playing quarter-tones on his instruments, and this solo really marks him as one of the most interesting soloists today, in my opinion. The tune ends with Wylie leading the band into the second melody of Lecha Dodi, which then Itamar brings to an end with another trumpet exploration, fading out into the Sabbath.
From Above - This piece was written on the last few days of my grandmother Regine's life. These days were very emotional for me, as I found her passing away unexpected. The tune starts out with a floating melody, that leads into a beautiful clarinet solo by James Wylie. I take a guitar solo after him, which leads into the melody again, first out-of-time, but then the bands locks the chorus into a heavy rock feel. Brickman's last few notes on this track amaze me every time I listen to this song. Also, hearing this song reminds me of a bird, flying through a town for the last time before migrating to another place.
The Miracle - This tune literally came into my life unannounced . My band and I were rehearsing for a TV appearance, and after we were finished we started some free improvisation. At one point I just heard the tune in its entirety in my hand and played it. I repeated playing the melody over and over again and the other guys started jumping in one after the other. That's how the concept of the tune evolved. In the context of the album, this is the last tune with the entire band playing, and the climax of the story.
Susu - I wrote this solo piece when I was a student at Berklee, right after the passing away of my grandfather Yosef, whose nickname was Susu. This piece is a tribute to him. It is a through-composed song, that ends with a looped vamp that I first improvise on, and then manipulate so that it is played in reverse, before fading out. The last minute reminds me of a ship sailing away, into the mist.
Guitarist Nadav Remez is one of today's emerging voices on the Jazz scene, and his music is gaining the attention of both fans and music critics worldwide. His melodic abilities on the guitar have been described as “haunting”, and his music as an intriguing combination of modern Jazz, Alternative Rock and Jewish Folk. Growing up in Israel, Nadav's musical education took a critical turn at the Thelma Yellin high school for the arts, known for producing well-known international jazz musicians. There, Nadav was exposed to many varieties of musical traditions, both western and eastern, that allowed him to form his own unique musical vision.
Nadav received a full scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 2005, and in 2007 he was invited to participate in the prestigious Montreux Gibson Jazz guitar competition, where he was selected as a semi-finalist. In 2008, Nadav continued his studies at the New England Conservatory, where he studied with the likes of Miguel Zénon, Billy Hart and George Garzone. He quickly became one of busiest musicians in the area, as he collaborated with notable musicians such as Myron Walden and Jamey Haddad, and performed at some of the most prestigious venues and festivals, including the Blue Note in New York and the Nancy Jazz Pulsations in France. During that time, he started writing music for his first album as a leader, and in June 2011, Nadav and his band went into the studio to record a concept album with nine songs which sum up his latest life experiences, put into musical form. On his upcoming long-awaited debut release, ‘So Far’, the guitarist manages to fuse his musical influences in a fresh and innovative way. The band features some of the most talented and sought-after musicians on the jazz scene today, including James Wylie, Steve Brickman, Shai Maestro, Avri Borochov, Ziv Ravitz and Itamar Borochov. Released on April 15th, 2011, 'So Far' will be available worldwide in both digital and physical formats, and is to be followed by a US release tour at venues such as Smalls (NY), Chris' Jazz Café (Philadelphia) and Twins Jazz (DC).
Nadav Remez's Website
Nadav Remez on Facebook
Nadav Remez on Twitter