Artist Views: 17710
City of Birth: San Francisco, CA
Current Residence: New York City
Played With: Burnt Sugar, Michael Bisio Quartet, David Murray Big Band, Mingus Big Band, Bobby Few, Archie Shepp, Graham Haynes, The Last Poets, Barry Altschul, Sunny Murray, Adam Rudolph, Kelvyn Bell, John Tchicai,William Parker, Roy Cambell, Fred Hopkins, Saul Williams, Adam, Lane Quartet and Octet, Reggie Washington, Butch Morris Orchestra, David Gilmore, David Fiuczynski, Dougie Bowne, Ben Allison, Steve McCraven, Frank Lacy, Jay Clayton, Newman Baker, Horace Parlan, Brandon Ross, Essiet Essiet, Art Sound Orchestra, Alan Silva, Dennis Charles, Matt Wilson, James Hurt, John Betsch, Roy Campbell, JJ Avenal, Cheik Tidiane Seik, Joseph Bowie Big Band, Paulo Fresu, Brise Wassy, Jack Gregg, Alain Jean-Marie, Kaissa Doumbe, Nat Reeves, Jeff Tain Watts, Karl Berger, Kirk Lightsey, Francis M'bappe, Tony Allen, Kenny Wessel, Herb Robertson, Steve Swell, Famoro Diabate, Abou Sylla, Abdoulaye Diabate, Mark Helias, Cyril Atef, Vincent Segal, Kenny Wollesen.
Instruments: Tenor, Alto, Soprano, Baritone Saxes, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Flute, Alto Flute.
Other Activities: Biking, Reading, PBS, Sashimi, MOMA, Sailing.
|"It's a relatively rare occurrence when an ensemble or individual rises to the top with something to say or a way of saying it that stands definitively apart. To my ears the Avram Fefer Trio belongs in this category." (OneFinalNote.com) |
"Possessed of an undeniably spiritual feel for the music, Avram Fefer understands the importance of percussion for connecting with the human pulse, as well as the use of horn lines to express what the heart, in all of its complexity, feels." (AllAboutJazz.com)
"Fefer is definitely fashioning an unshakable identity." (JazzWeekly.com)
BIOGRAPHY American saxophonist and bandleader Avram Fefer has been performing and recording internationally since 1990. After spending the decade as a soloist with a number of different groups, his first several recordings as a leader were singled out as among the Best of 2001 and Best of 2002 in publications such as Downbeat Magazine, Cadence magazine, the Village Voice, the Chicago Weekly Standard, and JazzPortugal. Now, with nine recordings as a leader or co-leader, Fefer has established a distinctive personal style reflecting his taste for adventure and experimentation while drawing on his command of the jazz tradition.
These attributes are vividly displayed on his latest trio recording, Ritual –- with drummer Chad Taylor and bassist Eric Revis --- on Clean Feed Records. Featuring origainal compositions as well as group improvisations, Ritual is already receiving praise from critics and musicians alike, remarking on both the individual strengths of the musicians and the overall group interplay:
"a ruggedly appealing new album" (New York Times)
"The fire ignited by saxophonist Avram Fefer is fresh, yet it sounds as eternal as all things avant in jazz." (AllAboutJazz.com)
"Fefer leads a scalding trio on this disc...there was a raw and palpable sense that the musicians were reaching for something special." (JazzandBlues.blogspot.com) His four releases with 73 year old piano legend Bobby Few received both critical acclaim and international radio play, leading to several successful tours. Two of these releases, Kindred Spirits and Heavenly Places (Boxholder Records 2005), are duo outings and display the intimate magical rapport between Fefer and the expatriate pianist. Recorded during a tour in France and Belgium, these discs present contrasting aspects of the musicians' vocabulary and repertoire. Kindred Spirits showcases the duo’s melodicism and presents primarily classics by Monk, Mingus and Ellington, whereas Heavenly Spirits catches them cutting loose on several originals, with more room for development and improvisation.
"Sometimes lightning strikes twice. As proof, legendary expatriate Bobby Few has teamed with fellow sound explorer Avram Fefer for two fresh releases of very different character, and with near-perfect results." (allaboutjazz.com)
"Thirty years in age separate pianist Bobby Few and saxophonist Avram Fefer, but on the evidence of this double release they truly are 'kindred spirits'." (Ottawa Express)
Sanctuary, a 2006 release, adds bass and drums into the mix (Hill Greene and Newman Baker), resulting in Avram's first recording in the classic 'Blue Note' jazz quartet format of saxophone and rhythm section. Other vestiges of the era are present---the influence of the blues, gospel, and latin influences are heard--- but the overall sound clearly reflects Fefer’s distinctive voice as a composer and bandleader, as well as his experience as a sideman in a wide variety of New York ensembles.
Released in 2005, Painting Breath, Stoking Fire (CIMP) is Fefer's CD featuring another duo---this time with virtuoso bassist and unsung hero, Michael Bisio. They perform a 58-minute, twelve part suite as a vehicle for improvisation and interaction of varying combinations of woodwinds and contrabass. Fefer plays, in order---alto flute, bass clarinet, clarinet, alto sax, and tenor sax as he accompanies Bisio on an extended, episodic tone poem. Fefer is also featured on Bisio's 2005 quartet release, Connections (CIMP), where his unmistakable strength and sensitivity as a sideman are in evidence.
Avram Fefer was born near San Francisco, but his early years were also spent in Pittsburgh, Stockholm, and Washington D.C. before the family finally settled near Seattle, Washington. After several fortuitous years in the hands of the inspirational high school jazz band director, Leo Dodd, Avram went on to receive a liberal arts degree at Harvard University and studied music at Berklee College and New England Conservatory. He then moved to Paris, France (1990-95) where he began his career as a saxophonist, composer, bandleader and teacher.
Paris offered many new sources of inspiration and growth including a vibrant African and Arabic music scene and a wealth of American expatriate musicians. His own bands were featured regularly in many of the city's top jazz clubs and he performed with fellow ex-pats Jack Gregg, Bobby Few, Graham Haynes, Archie Shepp, Kirk Lightsey, Oliver Johnson, John Betsch, Sunny Murray, and Rasul Siddik among others. He played in countries in Europe, Africa and the Mideast and is featured on diverse recordings, including by rap originators, the Last Poets (Scatterap/Home), and with jazz legend Archie Shepp on drummer Steve McCraven's Song of the Forest Boogeraboo [World McC Music]. He was also one of the founding members and featured soloists of the French acid jazz group, Beigels Daisy Toasts, recording two top-selling CD's for Virgin Records in 1994 and 95.
Since moving to New York, Fefer has indulged his passion for a wide variety of music while developing a unique sound that crosses genres. The influence of Ornette Coleman and Miles Davis-inspired funk was evident in the band The Tone Poets, featuring the instrumental pyrotechnics of Reggie Washington, Dave Fiuczynski, Jonathan Crayford and Marlon Browden. His embrace of trip-hop, jungle, and drum 'n bass was on display in the groups Squelch and Auto*Dope, both of which featured extensive improvisation, groove, and the unique tape manipulations of Bruce Grant (Huge Voodoo). His love of North and West African music has been drawn upon in a variety of great bands, including those of Cameroonian bassist Francis M'Bappe, ex-Fela drummer Tony Allen, Moroccan singer Abdeljalil Kodssi, balifonist Famoro Diabate, and on the 2004 release, New Destiny , by the Afro-Hungarian jazz group, Dallam-Dougou.
As a section player and soloist, Fefer has been featured in a number of large ensembles, including the David Murray Big Band, Butch Morris Orchestra, Joseph Bowie Big Band, Mingus Big Band, Frank Lacy's Vibe Tribe, and the Rob Reddy Octet. His jazz compositions have been played by Roy Campbell, James Zollar, Curtis Fowlkes, Sean Conly, Ben Allison, William Parker, Tomas Ulrich, and Brad Jones, among many. He continues to perform with numerous jazz and new music ensembles, including the bands Burnt Sugar, Hahahaes, and Kakande as well as his own Afro-Latin band, Free Spirit.
His trio, with Chad Taylor on drums and Eric Revis on bass, was featured at the 2003 Montreal Jazz Festival, while his duo with pianist Bobby Few performed at the 2004 Free Music Festival in Antwerp, Belgium and at the 2005 Burlington Jazz Festival in Vermont. Past festival performances include the JVC Jazz Festival at Carnegie Hall, the Heineken Jazz Festival, the Verizon Jazz Festival, the Knitting Factory What is Jazz Festival, the Tel-Aviv Jazz Festival, the Williamsburg Jazz Festival, and the Casa del Popolo Festival in Montreal, among others.
Avram has a thriving private teaching practice in downtown Manhattan and has collaborated on projects with dancers, poets, painters, and actors and has also performed and/or composed for theater, television, film and computer-interactive media.