Category Archives: Guitarist

Guitar players only, the exclusive club of instrumentalists

Yotam Silberstein: Future Memories

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NYC guitar player Yotam Silberstein has just released a new album called “Future Memories”. Yotam is one of the most remarkable guitar players on the Jazz scene today and he is accompanied by other extraordinary musicians foremost bass player John Patitucci.

The complete line-up is:

  • Yotam Silberstein: guitar, vocals, percussions
  • Vitor Gonçalves: piano, accordion, keyboard, percussions
  • Glenn Zaleski: piano, Fender Rhodes
  • John Patitucci: acoustic and electric bass
  • Daniel Dor: drums, percussions
  • Andre Mehmari: synthesizers

The album has been recorded in January 2018 but it needed the additional help of a crowdfunding project to finance the release of this album.

Officially released on March 1, 2019 the album contains mostly original music from Yotam Silberstein which he has been playing on tours around the world for the last couple of years. He is traveling constantly and during his travels he is also studying a lot of music, mostly the music of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Venezuela, and north Africa. These influences combined with his knowledge of Jazz, Blues, Israeli and Arabic music (Yotam grew up in Tel Aviv, Israel) has merged into something very unique.

The album starts with the title song “Future Memories”, softly and relaxed with a very simple melody, the solo from Yotam Silberstein also feels very open, unintrusive but intensive at the same time, especially Daniel Dor on drums adds the extra push.  In the long outro of the song we hear Vitor Gonçalves on accordion, which gives the song the special musette feeling, all very sophisticated.

The album continues with “Matcha” a fast and pushy contemporary Jazz tune. Great solos by Yotam Silberstein, Glenn Zaleski on piano and Daniel Dor on drums. I found a video of this song:

“Wind On The Lake” is more like an impressionistic musical painting with acoustic guitar and acoustic piano background supporting the electric guitar playing the melody. After a piano solo we hear the melody again, this time with Yotam singing and playing it on the guitar. The song ends with an incredible guitar solo with great dynamics.

“Impedimento” starts with a intensive latin groove and features again Vitor Gonçalves on accordion. He and Yotam play solos on this gorgeous Brazilian samba.

“Night Walk” the next song has short intro by John Patitucci and is a softer song again with beautiful harmonies, in Latin style with John Patitucci on electric bass, Glenn Zaleski on Fender Rhodes and Andre Mehmari on synthesizers which defines the special more “electric” sound of this tune.

The next song “Capricho de Donga” is a composition by Brazilian bandolin player and composer Hamilton de Holanda and shows the virtuosity of all musicians. Solos are by Vitor Gonçalves on piano, Yotam Silberstein on guitar and John Patitucci on bass. This song is one of my favorites on the album, a great composition that requires mastery on the instrument.

“A Picture of Yafo” comes next and this composition by Yotam Silberstein follows his composition pattern with a simple melody, played this time by John Patitucci on a fretless bass,  and an open improvisation part that gives a lot of space to the soloist.

A second capricho by Hamilton de Holanda comes next. “Capricho de Espanha” sounds like an etude for the advanced student. The solo part has an open first part where Yotam Silberstein plays in harmonic minor to emphasize on the Spanish character. The second part of the solo are regular chord changes. Glenn Zaleski on piano is the second soloist. During the first part of his solo he gets great support from Yotam on guitar and Daniel Dor on drums, it sounds like Glenn and Daniel have a real similar understanding since they connect so well.

“Choro Negro”, the last song of the album, a composition by Brazilian guitar player and composer Paulinho da Viola, is a beautiful duet between Vitor Gonçalves on piano and Yotam Silberstein on electric guitar. Sometimes you don’t need more than that, a gorgeous ending of this album.

Yotam Silberstein is very proud of this album, he said: “Together with an amazing group of musicians and humans, I went into the studio in Brooklyn, NY and after 3 intense days, we came up with what I consider my best work so far.” I think he has every reason for being proud. “Future Memories” is an album with a lot of rich facets of contemporary jazz music. The sound, the compositions and the groove are heavily influenced especially by Brazilian music and sets this album apart from the Jazz mainstream.

Yotam is currently on tour in Europe, in the next 10 days he will play in the UK, Sweden, Norway, 3 x in the Netherlands, Germany, Poland and France. In November he will be in Muri AG, Switzerland, so I saved November 3, 2019 already in my calendar. More tour dates are found on Yotam’s website:

https://yotammusic.com/

A promotional video for the album is also available:

And finally a playlist on Spotify for you:

Shubh Saran: H.A.D.D

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I would like to start the new year with an EP from Shubh Saran, a guitarist and composer based in Brooklyn, NY. He released his album entitled H.A.D.D on November 9, 2018.

H.A.D.D is an abbreviation for Hypersensitive Agency Detection Device, i.e. the tendency for humans to assume the presence of a sentient being in situations that may not involve one at all.

Shubh explains: “This represents the core idea of the EP, assigning greater meaning to everyday life. We are comforted by the idea of someone or something having a deciding hand in our lives, believing that everything happens for a reason. I wanted the music from this album to represent that feeling.”

Shubh Saran continues: “The music from the record is a melting pot of contemporary jazz, indie-rock, neo-soul, and fusion. After a year of monthly performances in New York and an India tour, the record draws its inspiration from the energy of my band’s live shows. H.A.D.D features five new songs written and recorded this year. “.

The line-up of the band is a little bit unconventional:

  • Shubh Saran – guitar
  • Angelo Spampinato – drums
  • Josh Bailey – drums & percussion
  • Christian Li – piano & keys
  • Brian Plautz – alto saxophone
  • Mark Minoogian – bass
  • Jared Yee – tenor saxophone
  • Hannah Sumner – vocals

Regarding the musicians, I have received some background information from Shubh: “I’ve known Brian and Jared since our time at Berklee. Although we rarely played together then, they became some of my closest musician friends after moving to New York. I met the rest of band playing in the music circuit here in New York, performing with them in various other projects and bands. When the time came to put together my own band for touring and recording, I asked the people who I admired the most.”

The first song “Pareidolia” starts soft by keyboards and saxophone, with growing intensity and turns into a cool funky groove at around 1:22, a great surprise to me. This change is repeated, first softly, increasing tension and groove change. We hear a guitar solo over funky slapping bass. Focus is on arrangement and sounds but diversified and never boring. This song is already my first highlight on the album.

“Eudaimonia” begins with guitar and saxophone and the intro reminds a little bit of the happy sound of the Daniel Bennett Group but without the changes of tonality. We hear an excellent piano solo with a nice horns background arrangement.

“Sight And Seen” comes next. Focus here is definitely on the pushing groove by the two drummers. The two saxophones play the melody alternating with the guitar.

“Falter” features Hannah Sumner on vocals and is my second highlight on the EP.  She is supported by a great arrangement with multiple layers of keyboards and guitar sounds. A saxophone solo towards the end of the song brings also great dynamics. A beautiful song, presented softly and intense.

“Divisible” is already the last tune of the EP. The melody is played by the guitar supported by the piano in pop-style. After a soft beginning the song becomes again more intensive and ends with a mellow single piano.

Overall I like this EP very much, it has the focus clearly on composition and sound, not on improvisation. It is definitely very individual and the ideas and the inspiration come from the personal experience and impressions of Shubh Saran. The musicians are all excellent and place their skills into the service of the composition and the arrangement. An album outside the conventions.

Finally, I asked Shubh if he has been able to perform the songs from the EP in front of an audience and he told me: “We have performed the songs in New York a number of times and the audience reception was great and very inspiring. The song forms are open enough to allow us to stray away from the recordings and spontaneously create new moments while playing live.”

Shubh Saran produced a “making-of” video with some nice impressions from the studio:

The album is also available on Spotify:

More information including the possibility to buy the sheet music for some of the songs and dates of live shows are found on Shubh Saran’s website:
www.shubhsaran.com