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NATE NAJAR "UNDER PARIS SKIES"

2018-10-14
Showtime: 1:30PM
Doors Open at 1:00PM

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Nate Najar "Under Paris Skies"


**Price includes brunch, music and a drink.**


Continuing on his freewheeling journey as a true musical citizen of the world, Nate Najar follows the release of his acclaimed 2016 album This is Nate Najar with performances at festivals, clubs and concert halls from Europe to the US to Australia. Over the years, the guitarist has enthralled audiences across the globe with his trademark acoustic classical guitar–but no city he has visited has captured his heart quite like Paris.

While Django Reinhardt’s classic “Nuages” has been part of his trio’s set list for years, Najar explores his passion for French jazz and pop with deeper commitment and purpose than ever before on his new full length album Under Paris Skies. The 11-track collection extends Najar’s creative relationship with Woodward Avenue Records, which released his Christmas in December in 2017. Najar’s affiliation with the popular jazz label dates back to Groove Me, his 2010 collaboration with Melba Moore that reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Jazz chart.

A warm, soulful, multi-faceted expression of his enduring love for the City of Lights, Under Paris Skies reflects the deep and exciting “rabbit hole” of research Najar did to curate a unique eclectic variety of pop, jazz and classical songs rarely re-imagined by American jazz artists.

“Who doesn’t love Paris?” Najar asks whimsically. “I don’t know anyone who says they don’t want to go there, and if you’ve been, how could you not want to go back? I have a love affair with France, which is a wonderful, romantic place on every level. There is such a rich cultural history, with so much global influence. Paris has traditionally been the center of many movements in classical music, but there’s also an incredible legacy of pop and jazz music many Americans may not be familiar with.”

One great example is the wonderful pop singer France Gall. Her song “La Mort Douce,” featuring Najar’s thoughtful acoustic improvisations and the subtle harmonic shadings of Cecil’s bass, kicks off a deeply melodic, rhythmically diverse and improvisation-rich exploratory journey. Along the way, Najar pays homage to legendary composer Michel Legrand, via a brisk, lighthearted swing arrangement of “I Will Wait for You,” from the 1964 film Umbrellas of Cherbourg; Django Reinhardt, via a soulful, percussive romp through “Nuages,” featuring the guitarist’s plucky interactions with Chuck Redd’s vibes and Cecil’s bass; and legendary songwriter Serge Gainsbourg with “La Javanaise,” a waltz that Najar re-imagines with a spirited Caribbean vibe.

Another key stop Najar makes on Under Paris Skies is the moody, reflective title track “Sous le Ciel de Paris,” from the 1951 film of the same name, penned by composer Hubert Giraud. The snappy, spirited “Ce Petit Chemin” was originally recorded in the 30’s by the beloved vocalist Mireille. Najar and Cecil engage in a hauntingly hypnotic guitar-bass duet of “Apres Un Reve,” which composer Gabriel Fauré originally wrote for piano and soprano vocal. Redd’s sensual vibes return on the gorgeous Charles Aznavour ballad “Sa Jeunesse” to join forces with Najar’s strings on an easy flowing romantic adventure.



Uptempo, grooving jazz and swing create the buoyant rhythmic foundation of the playful yet intricately rendered Charles Trenet tune “Que reste-t-il a nos amours?” which became the American standard “I Wish You Love,” a huge hit for Keely Smith in 1958. Najar wraps up the collection with “Chanson du Cœur Brisé,” a slightly melancholy, richly improvisational ballad whose raw emotion is underscored by guitarist’s scrapes on the wood; and the breezy, balmy, Brazilian leaning “La Marseillaise,” which Najar says needs “no real explanation. I tried to imagine how Joao Gilberto would approach it and gave it my best shot.”

His three recordings on Candid Records – including Blues For Night People: The Nate Najar Trio Remembers Charlie Byrd and This Is Nate Najar – earned him accolades from critics and influential jazz voices alike. Rick Anderson of All Music Guide called Najar “one of the most consistently interesting and stylish young guitarists on the jazz scene.” Edward Blanco of All About Jazz wrote, “This is Nate Najar will provide one with an exciting introduction to one of the finest classical guitarists in the business today on a set of music that swings lightly with a touch of class.” Becky Byrd, wife of the late guitarist Charlie Byrd, said, “There is no doubt that there is a piece of Charlie’s soul in Nate’s mind, heart and fingers. Get ready, world, here comes Nate Najar!”

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