Nate Najar plays accessible jazz on a classical guitar and applies classical technique to match. This album showcases the music veteran playing a variety of tunes that range from Chopin’s “Prelude in E Minor (op.28 no.4),” Chick Corea’s “500 Miles High” and “Chick’s Tune,” as well as Jobim’s “Insensatez (How Insensitive)” and “O Morro Não Tem Vez (Favela).” With a fondness for the rhythms of Brazil, Najar also swings splendidly on “Sidewalks Of New York” and the aforementioned “Chick’s Tune.”
Najar’s sensitive playing aside, this is a shrewd album. With its inspired bass, trumpet, and luscious cello, it’s a disc you could find on the playlists of the jazz neophyte as well as the disciple.
Intermingled with ballads like “But Oh, What Love!,” “Centerpiece,” and “Crystal Silence,” it’s a chill recording that embodies rich harmonic integrity, yet imparts a soothing quality absent in so many jazz recordings that hit hard and never let up. Najar’s tasty note selection, delicate touch, and immaculate technique offer the listener a comforting refuge, that keeps the outside world at bay and reminds guitarists of the beauty of flesh on nylon.
This article originally appeared in VG September 2017 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.