Ferber Mordy

CD title: Being ThereYear: 2005Style: Modern Jazz
Musicians: Mordy Ferber (classical, electric & synth guitar; vocals); Michael Brecker (tenor saxophone); Ole Mathisen (soprano saxophone); Tiger Okoshi (trumpet); Brad Hatfield (keyboards); Eddie Gomez, Will Lee (bass); Peter Erskine (drums); Frank Colon (percussion)Review: Though guitarist Mordy Ferber is one of those musician's musicians-a technically accomplished and versatile player who is known throughout the jazz community, but who remains relatively obscure among jazz listeners-he has found the time to release a CD that showcases his talent in a wide-ranging array of styles. Actually, Being There was recorded in 1996, and it is just now making its way into the distribution channels on the Half Note label. Better late than never, that's for sure. Perhaps Ferber was too busy with his behind-the-scenes work writing music for shows like The Sopranos, Everybody Loves Raymond or Six Feet Under, as he holds down a full-time job at New York University. Or perhaps his touring throughout the world, even in lesser-known venues in Greece and China, has put him behind in his self-promotion endeavors.Ferber's discographical output lags his influence as an educator or his impact upon an audience in live performances. But Being There incrementally helps to remedy that deficit. In fact, Ferber appears to lay out at his leisure the various aspects of his talent, so multifarious at this point in his career that a single style can't represent it. Even Being There's first track, "Charlesgate Op.50" evolves through several movements as a composed piece that develops a single motive, quietly stated by Ferber in a solo introduction, into a full-blown expression of Ferber's compositional ability and sonic force, layered in electric guitar/synth guitar and pianissimo/fortissimo contrasts. When tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker comes in, it's as if a shift occurs in the piece, and in Ferber's playing, as the soft unfolding of the theme moves into a more interactive, more energetic section, its initial gentleness giving way to fury driven by Peter Erskine's rock-derived beat. Perhaps "Charlesgate Op.50" reflects the diversity of Ferber's musical influences, his initial classical lessons in his Israeli hometown evolving into the rock-and-roll of his teenage band and then his discovery of jazz and then traditional music and show tunes that he played on Israeli radio, records and television.As if the variations within "Charlesgate Op.50" weren't expansive enough to cover Ferber's range of interests, the next track, "Cinema Kamari," supplies a 6/8 world music feel while Ferber confidently steps in merely, and importantly, to play the appealing melody with chiming echoed effect while Erskine and percussionist Frank Colon take control of the piece-a song which could have as appropriately been heard on batá drums in Cuba as on tablas in India. And then, for something completely unexpected, Ferber shows how gorgeously he can develop a ballad on classical guitar when he plays "Some Other Time," backed by a piano trio. At this point, keyboardist Brad Hatfield's keen understanding of Ferber's thoughts becomes evident as he lightly comps in the same range as the guitar, nudging the piece forward and illuminating it. Hatfield has been the one musician who has performed on all of Ferber's CD's to date, and their instantaneous responses to the other's ideas contribute to the success of Being There. Their oneness of mind comes through again as clear as a bell on the light samba, "Farewell Friend," on which Eddie Gomez claims an even greater presence as he and Ferber's lines intertwine throughout the development of the melody in the first chorus. The ease with with the guitarist and bassist play comes through unmistakably on "Harpo," on which Gomez deepens the textures of Ferber's shimmering chords and arpeggios which comprise the piece with first arco accompaniment and then his inimitable pizzicato work on bass.Ferber chooses his sidemen according to the spirit he seeks in his compositions, and so Michael Brecker again joins in on "1369," a swaggering, pouncing tune allowing plenty of space for Brecker's swirling improvisation and Ferber's distortion over Gomez's pulsating bass lines, at time reminiscent of Weather Report. And on "Nearly Gone," Ferber recruits trumpeter Tiger Okoshi from his days at Berklee College of Music to provide the muted atmospheric effects, understated and essential to the feel of the piece.On Being There, Mordy Ferber provides reason to make sure he's included in the lists of jazz guitarists who not only have developed sounds of their own through deep personal experience and technical mastery, but also who have shown sufficient compositional imagination to make their own statement.Tracks: Charlesgate Op.50, Cinema Kamari, Some Other Time, Being There, 1369, Farewell Friend, Harpo, Israel On My Mind, Nearly GoneArtist's Websites: www.mordyferber.comwww.jazzreview.com/cd/review-16605.htmleducation.nyu.... by: Don Williamson www.jazzreview.com/cd/review-16605.html