Nadav Remez 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy of nadavremez.com)
When you call your debut recording So Far, that naturally leaves the record
store patron wondering whether the album is a summation of the artist’s musical
endeavor and/or life to date.
“Yes, but it also alludes to the fact that
I have been living in the United States for a few years, and I am far away from
my home, from Israel and my family,” explains jazz guitarist Nadav
Remez will have some time “at home” next week when he pops over
from the US to take part in the four-day exposition of Israeli musicians – jazz
and world music – for 45 international festival artistic directors coming here
to find some of the best talent this country has produced.
27-year-old musician lives in New York but has come a long way from his native
Tel Aviv, his alma mater, the Thelma Yellin High School for the Arts, and his
later educational sojourns at Berklee College of Music and New England
Conservatory in Boston. So Far is an accomplished and surprisingly mature work
for a first offering.
“There is quite a lot of sadness,” observes the
guitarist, “because I live somewhere else, far from where I should
Despite his six-year sojourn, and counting, Remez obviously still
feels a strong bond with the country of his birth.
“Being away from
Israel generates some sort of tension between me and my home,” he continues.
“But maybe that’s the tension you need to create and compose.”
other fringe benefits to living in foreign climes.
“There is something
about being in a different place that puts you in a situation whereby you feel
removed, and it produces a sort of vacuum, which is easy to fill with some sort
of artistic creation.”
Remez certainly isn’t looking for an easy life.
Amazingly, he is left-handed but plays a “normal” right-handed
Isn’t making music tough enough without adding almost impossible
manual logistics to the instrumental conundrum? Remez is evidently made of
“I elected to play right-handed guitar of my own accord,”
he explains. “I try to understand what my right hand, my weaker hand, needs to
do in order to work as a naturally strong hand.”
He invests a lot of time
and effort in that exploration. “When I take the subway I take two [guitar
picks] with me and I try to understand where the movement in the left hand comes
from and replicate that with my right hand, to find some balance, in my hands
and in my mind.”
The choice to use a right-handed guitar was also a
matter of convenience.
“When I was a kid I went to the [musical
instrument] store in Ness Ziona, and there were almost no left-handed guitars
there, and the ones they had weren’t very good quality,” Remez recalls. “And if
I went over to friends’ places, if there was a guitar around it would never be
for a left-handed player.
So it made sense to use a regular
Remez continues to subscribe to a problem-solving
“There are always solutions and ways to overcome
difficulties, the only question is how intelligent your solution
That comes through loud and clear on So Far, which includes nine
original compositions. In fact, Remez didn’t go too far to find his sidemen for
the project, with no less than four Israelis – trumpeter Itamar Borochov,
pianist-keyboardist Shai Maestro, bassist Avri Borochov and drummer Ziv Ravitz –
alongside Americans James Wylie on alto saxophone and clarinet and Steve
Brockman on tenor saxophone. The high Israeli percentage in Remez’s band is not
“I think we all share something, in that we come from
here, from this unique country. It gives us a shared language and helps the
There is, indeed, a sense on So Far that Remez took
all the time in the world to produce the numbers.
“You get all these
musicians who play really fast, which is OK, but I think you miss some sort of
essence when you take too a fast approach to the music. It all gets a bit dense
That applies to writing music too.”