For guitarist Nir Felder, the song’s the thing. His debut album Golden Age, out January 21st via OKeh, puts his skills as a composer and songwriter at the forefront of his creative design, supported by virtuosic technique- not the other way around. Nir has performed with the likes of Meshell Ndegeocello, Terri Lyne Carrington, Esperanza Spalding, José James, Jack DeJohnette and the New York City Opera, as well as being dubbed “the next big jazz guitarist” by NPR.
Nir previously unveiled atmospheric Golden Age album opener “Lights,” which he describes as “one of those songs that comes to you complete. It feels like a story that moves in a circle, where the beginning and end meet up.” Now, he shares album cut “Sketch 2,” another striking oeuvre featuring smooth instrumentation set atop spoken-word samples from historic speeches given by former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, and Nobel Peace Prizewinner & political activist Elie Wiesel. “Sketch 2” premiered with Relix, and is available to stream below.
Though not a concept album, the title Golden Age provides a unifying sentiment- one of ambiguity & duality. As Nir explains, “it’s more of a question than a statement. We’ve seen a lot of change in recent years- in the music industry, in music technology, in our world, our country, and our city, New York.” The album deals with “nostalgia for the 1980s and early ‘90s, when times were rough and unsafe but art and culture were flourishing. Was that a ‘golden age’? Is this one? Has there really ever been one? The question is always, according to whom? So, there is a lack of clarity about whether things are going great or they’re really bad, and the music reflects that.”
Nir recruited pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman & drummer Nate Smith to help bring his unique musical vision to life. To augment the band’s instrumental take on those questions, he studied dozens of legendary speeches by politicians, civil rights leaders & cultural heroes, and mixed spoken-word samples from Barbara Jordan, Jesse Jackson, Hilary Clinton, Malcolm X, Richard Nixon & others into the new tracks. The results are sweeping, cinematic impressions of history brought into the present moment.
Stay tuned for more news from Nir Felder coming soon!