Elmer Ferrer Band

Elmer Ferrer Band

BandJazzWorld

Elmer Ferrer is widely recognized as one of the world’s premiere modern guitarists. An accomplished artist, music composer, producer, arranger and performer (electric and acoustic), Elmer “has toured the world with his band, thrilling crowds with his innovative mix of Cuban Jazz with Blues and Rock

Biography

Toronto-based Cuban virtuoso Elmer Ferrer is widely recognized as one of the world's premiere modern guitarists. He has recorded and toured the world with many of the most prestigious Cuban musicians, and played to crowds in excess of 90 000. An accomplished music composer, producer, arranger, and performer, he is also the leader of the
remarkable Elmer Ferrer Band, “known for wowing the crowds with blues rock sprinkled liberally with Cuban jazz” (The Ottawa Citizen, 2007).

Born in 1973 in Sancti Spíritus -a small city that holds one of the strongest histories in Cuban traditional music- Elmer started to play guitar at age 12. During his first year out of four of classical guitar studies at Havana´s famed National School of Arts (ENA), he saw the American movie “Crossroads”. The film opened the door for the sixteen-year-old classical guitarist Elmer Ferrer to the world of Jazz and Blues. He soon discovered the art of guitarists like John Scofield, Pat Matheny, Scott Henderson, Steve Vai, Mike Stern, Robben Ford and Steve Ray Vaughan, and decided he wanted to play the electric guitar. But there were no electric guitar programs in Cuban music schools back then; thus, Elmer continued to study classical guitar, while devoting every free minute to the self-study of the electric instrument. One year after his graduation as a classical guitarist, the same ENA recognized his talent and hired him to teach at the new ‘Department of Electric Guitar’.

Known as Cuba’s most sought after electric guitarist, Elmer has been one of the most prolific studio musicians in Cuba in the last decade. He contributed to several music recordings, including two Latin Grammy nominated albums and an Oscar nominated movie soundtrack. He has performed at international Jazz and Blues festivals world-wide, and played live shows and improvised jams with international figures as Me'Shell Ndegé Ocello, Ed Motta, the Otis Taylor Band, Los Lobos, and Chris Duarte. Some of the Cuban names he often collaborates with, include the multi awarded Juan Formell & Los Van Van, Orlando Valle "Maraca", and the 5 times Grammy winner Chucho Valdés, whom once introduced Elmer as “one of the best guitarists I have listened to in the last 30 years”.

With his first CD as a soloist (Metropoli –Unicornio, 2002), Elmer won the Best New Album Award at the International Music Fair Cubadisco 2003, and was also nominated for Best Jazz Album of the Year. The Elmer Ferrer Band was formed in Havana one year later, and had its International debut at the 2005 Cisco Systems Ottawa Bluesfest (Ottawa, Canada), opening concert for American star Kid Rock. Elmer´s sencond CD Fango Dance was released at the event, and ranked fifth in units sold. Since then, "Cuban Elmer Ferrer has toured the world with his band, thrilling crowds with his blazing guitar riffs of latin jazz, blues and rock" (Ottawa Metronews, 2007) and the phrase “return by popular demand” has been heard more than once. On four years of existence, the EFB has made the line up on stage at international events with Keb Mo, Johnny Lang, Bonnie Raitt, the Chris Duarte Group, David Hidalgo & Los Lobos, Kid Rock, the Derek Trucks Band and Van Morrison*.

Critics have compared Ferrer's guitar skills to those of music legends like Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Words like “Metheny meets SRV” has been used when describing his guitar work. He is particularly known and greatly admired for his harmonic brilliance, vast vocabulary, and intense soulful soloing. Elmer’s music has been described as “an advanced mix of Cuban jazz with electric blues”, and has brought him international acclaim as one of the strongest voices in today’s world of modern electric guitar music.

*Van Morrison and EFB were the only acts on the opening night of the 2007 edition of Canada´s largest Blues Festival, the Cisco Systems Ottawa Bluesfest.

AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS:

AS SOLOIST ARTIST:

- Metropoli (Unicornio, 2002) –Awarded 2003 Cubadisco* Best New Album, also nominated
as Best Jazz Album of the Year.

- Jazz Cuba Today (Unicornio, 2005) – Awarded 2006 Cubadisco Best DVD of the Year.

- Los Gatos de Alf, finalist for Best Jazz Song of the Year at the International Songwriting Competition (ISC), 2007.

AS MUSIC PRODUCER & ARRANGER:

- De Cero, Diego Gutierrez (Unicornio, 2006). Awarded Cubadisco 2007 Best Trova-Pop-Rock Album of the Year.
- Mi Generacion, Tesis de Menta, (Egrem, 2006). Nominated Best Pop-Rock Album of the Year, Cubadisco 2007.
- Breathe, Yusa, (TUMI Music, 2005). Nominated as Best Fusion Album of the Year, Cubadisco 2006. Elmer is also co-composer on two songs on this CD ("Re-nacimiento" y "El fantasma del marino").
- Sin Julieta, Santiago Feliu, (Unicornio, 2002). Nominated Best Trova Pop-Rock Album of the Year, Cubadisco 2004.
- Entre Otros, Noel Nicola & Santiago Feliú, (Unicornio, 2002). Nominated Best Song Album of the Year, Cubadisco 2004.
- Jazz Timbero, Bobby

Lyrics

Crazy window

Written By: Elmer Ferrer, Xyrla Fernandez, Peter Voith, Shawn Tavenier, Anders Drerup

Crazy Window
I have a window over my kitchen
My window sometimes shows me cats and children.
There are also dogs that come in peace
In peace they shake their noses and hide their teeth.

My crazy window shows me around
And put my eyes straight down to the ground,
And that’s the reason why when I cook,
I cook and see shoes passing foot by foot.

Through my crazy window never comes the sun
But the shadows tell me how the life goes on.

I have a window, smells like beans,
I hear the song of music from the street
So when the wind blows I have no choice
But to listen to the passing stranger’s voice

That’s how I’ve seen, that’s how I’ve known
This words and tells that now become my own
Stories of kisses, stories of pain…
Seem to come from heaven, seem to come from hell…

Through my crazy window never comes the sun
But the shadows tell me how the life goes on.

Through my crazy window I can see the soul
the cristal soul of any one who comes
if you walk with two faces your not good enough
my window just get close and that’s the sign I know

I have a window, over my kitchen
From here is warm I’m cooking while its raining
I do my rice, see rain above…
Cooking and holding tight the one I love.

Enough to want more

Written By: Elmer Ferrer, Xyrla Fernandez, Ndidi Onukwulu

ENOUGH TO WANT MORE
Lyrics: Xyrla Fernandez & Ndidi Onukwulu

Hey, my head gets out of place
As you are walking out of my embrace
Hey, when you turn away
You leave me counting every single day

I´m not waiting by the phone
Try me, I´ll be around

Enough to want more
I´m gonna tell you what I want it for
Enough to want more
a brand new land to explore
One step on your shore
Oh I knew this was meant to be
Enough to want more
I knew it babe and now you are here with me.

Hey, you´ll be inside my chest
And I´ll be inside yours too I bet
See, when two like you and I´ve met…
Anything else is just the rest

I´m not waiting by the phone
Try me, I´ll be around

Enough to want more
I´m gonna tell you what I want it for
Enough to want more
a brand new land to explore
One step on your shore
Oh I knew this was meant to be
Enough to want more
I knew it babe and now you are here with me.

Power of greed

Written By: Elmer Ferrer, Peter Voith, Anders Drerup

POWER OF GREED Peter Voith

Let me introduce myself I'm someone you need to know
The signs of your weakness are clear and (they) are beginning to show
I know the meat in your head is like the beer in your blood
Another king at your hands is face down

I want to take you to the end
(I said) Believe me, it's just around the bend
Just blindly follow me
I'll make you every single thing you've ever wanted to be

And the hammer hits the bullet and it makes me bleed
It was everything in the world I didn't need
I knew I should never have let you lead
Because the only thing you showed us...

No need to re-introduce myself
I'm the one who knows you better than you know yourself
I'm your best friend and your worst enemy
And I will make you see what I want you to see

Now there's a knock on the door
And there's a face you've never seen before
Your kids are crying and your mama's away
He says he is giving but his eyes are saying "take"... take it away.

And the hammer hits the bullet and it makes me bleed
It was everything in the world I didn't need
I knew I should never have let you lead
'Cause the only thing you showed us...

You let us think you give but then you take it away
You know you gotta give it back someday
Why you gotta keep stealing the things I need
Just to keep on drinking deeper and your drowning in the power of greed


Sancti Spiritus Blues

Written By: Elmer Ferrer, Ndidi Onukwulu

Sancti Spiritus Blues
Elmer Ferrer & Ndidi Onukwulu

Oh, we just want to go back, back to the place
where life's stress simply leaves no trace
Back to where we are meant to be
Back to our memories
Were we can breathe in peace

Take us back to the simple
To where it all began
To where we once were free
Into your arms again

The road to here has been hard
feet ache , burnt and scarred, cut through the skin
hearts heavy from all thats been
we cry and beg to be taken away
know where to go but we are afraid
of the trap we are in
afraid for life to begin

Take us back to the simple
To where it all began
To where we once were free
Into your arms again

We always want to leave, to run from run from ourselves, our hearts, our homes
Run into what we think we know
We are blind, turned away from our whispering souls.

Let us go back, back on home, just take us back for a minute.

Shake well

Written By: Elmer Ferrer, Xyrla Fernandez, Ndidi Onukwulu

Shake Well
Lyrics: Xyrla Fernandez & Ndidi Onukwulu

Living, loving, all together broiling it. Hits are on the kit, profits, merits, profiles and facts you can´t foretell. You´ve got to shake them well.

Breathing, walking, keeping dreams and wonderings. Choices pull decisions on, cautioning. You better listen because you know you´ve got to shake them well.

Every gun has its time to fire
Who said it ain´t simple?
Don´t you know History can be hired
Even for a minute.

Moved by passions actions turned reactions, going into the points then all through the line. Don´t know what´s behind, searching for a place to dwell. You´ve got to shake them well

Every gun has its time to fire
Who said it ain´t simple?
Don´t you know History do gets hired
Almost every minute

A thousand roads away
You´ll go as far as you want
You want it easy
You´ll have to move one day at a time

Living, loving, all together moving it. You´ve got to give the best to get the best,
That´s the trick
Ends will never be known it´s time to sharpen your soul.
Breathing, walking, keeping dreams, wonderings. You´ve got to give the best to get the best,
That´s the trick
No time clinging to the hi´s or farewells. You´ve got to shake them well

A thousand roads away
You´ll go as far as you want
You want it easy
You´ll have to move one day at a time

Discography

LATEST RELEASE:

No Guitars Allowed
Elmer Ferrer Band featuring Ndidi Onukwulu
(Elmer Ferrer, 2009).

No Guitars Allowed finds Elmer Ferrer blending traditional Cuban rhythms and percussions with the signature high energy jazz-blues-rock fusion that has brought him international acclaim as one of the world’s premiere modern guitarists.
Accompanied by some of Cuba’s most celebrated musicians on this recording, No Guitars Allowed showcases Ferrer’s remarkable talents, both as a guitarist and a composer. The Album also features Canadian singer-songwriter, 2009 Juno nominated artist and 2007 Maple Blues winner Ndidi Onukwulu, who contributes vocals on five of No Guitars Allowed’s 10 tracks. Onukwulu also composed lyrics for one of the album’s centrepiece tracks, an homage to roots called “Sancti Spiritus Blues”, which musical style is based on a traditional rythm from Sancti Spiritus, Ferrer’s Cuban village birthplace. Except for the guitars (all guitars were recorded by Ferrer himself at his home studio in Havana) the CD was recorded and mixed by 2009 Grammy awarded Cuban Sound Engineer Orestes Aguila at Abdala Studios (Havana), and mastered by Joe Lambert (Black Label Society, Alice Cooper, Joe Satriani, Herbie Hancock, and so on...) at Joe Lambert Mastering (NYC)

OTHER SOLOIST DISCOGRAPHY:

Fango Dance
Elmer Ferrer Band
Johnston Records, 2005.

Jazz Cuba Today
Roberto Carcasses, Alexander Brown, Elmer Ferrer
Unicornio, 2005
Awarded Best DVD of the Year Cubadisco 2006

Metropoli
Elmer Ferrer
Unicornio, 2003
Awarded Best New Album, nominated Best Jazz Album of the Year Cubadisco 2003

DISCOGRAPHY OF OTHER ARTISTS:

As a session Electric/Acoustic guitarist, Music Producer or Arranger, Composer or co-composer, Elmer has contribute to a number of CDs, DVDs, and Movies Soundtracks recordings. Credits include two Latin Grammy nominated Albums and an Oscar nominated Movie Sountrack; Record Labels include Sony Norte Planet, Icon, Sony BMG, BMG Ariola and Warner Music. Please visit the Discography section of artist's website at http://www.elmerferrer.com for a non-exhaustive list of Elmer's discography with other artists (64 CDs listed as of the end of 2009).

MOVIE SOUNDTRACK RECORDING HIGHLIGHTS:

- El Benny (Cuba). Dir: Jorge Luis Sánchez. 2006 Oscar nominated. Elmer recorded the “original” guitar of Cuban Music legend Benny More, in the soundtrack recording produced by
Maestro Juan Manuel Ceruto.

- Habana Blues (Cuba-Spain). Dir: Benito Zambrana. Goya Awarded Best Original Soundtrack, 2005.

Set List

Electric or Acoustic Live Show:

- 1 Set 90 minutes, or
- 2 Sets 45 minutes

Workshops, Clinics, Master Classes:
- 1 Session 30, 45 or 60 minutes, or
- 2 Sessions 30, 45 minutes

Original Repertoire:

- Green Valley
- Lleva y trae
- No guitars allowed
- Pimpao
- Sancti Spiritus Blues
- Here Inside
- 23
- Shake well
- Estatica
- El mar no descansa
- Crazy window
- Power of Greed
- Enough to want more
- Fango dance
- E Blues
- Natural hardware
- Apagon
- Demonios del dia
- Kelembe
- E-mail
- Juguete viejo
- Metropoli
- Mia
- Yerba buena
- Los gatos de Alf
- Aurin

Covers:
(Generally played with Elmer's original arrangements)
- So what (Miles Davis)
- Come together (Lennon/McCartney)
- Voodoo child (Jimi Hendrix)
- I don't need no doctor (Ray Charles)
- Jazz and Cuban music standards.