From the blog

Nate’s Paris CD release is Thursday in the Side Door; check out my interview with him here

Got to sit down with Nate Najar last week for a good conversation.  He was  fresh off the airplane from shows in England and France all in conjunction with the release of his new album of French tunes – Under Paris Skies. The local release party is this Thursday, Oct. 4, in the Side Door at 7:30 p.m.


He’s bringing his touring band – bassist Tommy Cecil and drummer Matt Home – with him to the Side Door. And from there the group will cross the country for shows on the West Coast on a tour that ends at the legendary Blue Note in New York City. One of the tunes on that album, that you’ll hear Thursday night, was written by the great Charles Aznavour, who died this week at 94.


I’ve turned our conversation into a Q & A with Nate that you can read below. But before you do that, I suggest you get your tickets for this very special concert by calling our box office at 727-822-3590 or you can follow this link for on-line tickets and info.


Here’s the interview:


PalladiumPaul: You’re new release is called Under Paris Skies and you were just literally under Paris skies. Was that intentional or just serendipity that it coincided with the CD release?


Nate Najar: We made a record that centered around Paris, how could we not play Paris? We played Duc des Lombards, the premier jazz room in Paris. It’s like working at Ronny Scott’s (in London) or the Blue Note (in New York City). By the way, we’ll be at the Blue Note, in a couple of weeks. The Palladium starts the tour, then we’re off to gigs in Florida, on the West Coast in Los Angeles and Berkeley, and finally in New York City.


PP:  I heard this new record was selling well even before it was released. Is that right?


Nate: The record officially came out Sept. 7 and there were so many pre-orders the initial stock was all sold in advance. They had to reorder. So somebody is buying it.


PP: Are you happy with this record?


Nate: It’s the closest thing I’ve ever done that sounds like I intended it to sound like.


PP: Why the Paris theme?


Nate: Who doesn’t love Paris?  Some tunes are certainly very familiar. Some a great deal less so. All of it is really great material. The French have a really strong songwriting tradition. It being in French, it is not been picked up as much in the English speaking world. Jazz musicians are playing it, but it doesn’t get played over here as much.


Because it is such strong material, it is familiar enough that it is accessible and feels good. And at the same time it feels very fresh.


It’s been really fun for us to play. It’s not stuff we’ve been playing for 20 years.


And the audiences have been responding positively.


PP: Why this band for this record?


Nate: Tommy Cecil is the one of the finest bass player in the history of jazz. The joke is that Howard Alden, the guitar player, knows every song ever written and Tommy Cecil knows twice as many.  I met Tommy Cecil 15 years ago with Chuck Redd (who also plays on this album).  Tommy’s based in D.C. He’s been on most of my records. Tommy, Chuck and I often work together as a trio.


Tommy’s extremely supportive and at the same time very in the moment and reactive. And he and Matt hook up together beautifully.


I met Matt through Harry Allen in London. I was playing London and I needed to hire a rhythm section. Harry suggested Matt and he played with me at Ronny Scott’s.  He has a wonderful sense of time and enough experience and resources to make supportive musical decisions. Playing with me can be difficult,. because it is different than playing with a traditional jazz group. The classical guitar is the quietest instrument on the planet and you have to play with intensity behind it. Matt can do that.











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