Nate Najar
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Nate Najar

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The best kept secret in music


"Nate Najar: Like Coolsville"

Everything about this album screams 1950s — the title, the skinny-ties-and-moonlight cover art, the vibraphone, the gently finger-popping tempos, the decorously swinging melodies. That's guitarist and composer Nate Najar's bag, and bless him for it; it's great to have someone on the scene this happily and unapologetically devoted to a period in jazz when audience-pleasing smoothness blended so seamlessly with virtuosic chops and compositional elegance. And as fine a guitarist as Najar is, it's his compositions that really set him apart from the pack — the contrapuntally complex "Two Lines for Carl," the gently regretful "Party," the coolly strutting "Blues After Dark." His arrangement of "On the Trail," from Ferdinand Grofé's Grand Canyon Suite, is a deft and humorous touch, and his rendition of Barney Kessel's "Twilight in Acapulco" (complete with marimba, courtesy of Sam Koppelman) provides a surprisingly affecting moment. And then there's the guitar playing, which is never less than sharply inventive, sweetly melodic, and warmly inviting. Very highly recommended. — Rick Anderson - All Music Guide

"The Cool Sounds of Nate Najar"

Not exactly a stylistic or tonal innovator, Floridian guitarist Nate Najar is nevertheless one of the most consistently interesting and enjoyable young guitarists on the jazz scene. On his second album as a leader he takes his quartet — which consists of vibraphonist Sam Koppelman, bassist Steve Boisen and drummer Steven Bucholtz — through a swinging and varied program of standards and originals that includes such mainstream fare as Carl Amundson's "CIS," Henry Mancini's "Dreamsville" and Najar's own swinging "Feels Like Spring" as well as unusual choices like "I'm an Old Cowhand (from the Rio Grande)" and a wonderful arrangement of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" that makes explicit the song's basic blues structure (and on which Najar slyly inserts a few bars of "Dixie" into his solo). Just about everything about this recording gives it a vintage 1950s feel, from the distant drum miking to the interplay of the vibraphone and the warm, soft-edged guitar tone that Najar favors. But none of it sounds hackneyed or self-consciously "retro"; Najar's playing and writing are equally fresh and exciting, breathing new life into what could have been a tired genre exercise. Highly recommended. — Rick Anderson - All Music Guide


Nate Najar and His Quartet- Like Coolsville, The Cool Sounds of Nate Najar, The Nate Najar Trio- Jazz Impressions, Carl Amundson & The Modern Guitar Quintet – Kinda Cool


Feeling a bit camera shy


Nate Najar is a guitarist with experience beyond his years. He began performing professionally at the age of 13 with various blues outfits around his hometown of St Petersburg, Florida. Following those formative years, he began studying modern theory and concepts for guitar with Frank Mullen. It was at this time Nate also joined pianist, Jerry Libby’s quartet. Nate’s career as a bandleader soon followed, with many of his CDs receiving nationally syndicated radio airplay. Appearances at the House of Blues, Washington DC’s Blues Alley and jazz festivals across the country have further solidified Najar’s growth.

“every note clear and meaningful, every solo perfect in execution…” Just Jazz Guitar Magazine

“one of the most consistently interesting and enjoyable young guitarists on the jazz scene….Highly recommended.” All Music Guide