"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, Avram Fefer belongs in this category." Derek Taylor (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." Don Williamson (AllAboutJazz.com)
"Fefer is definitely fashioning an unshakable identity." Ken Waxman (JazzWeekly.com)
His writings have been published in several books; his music has appeared in a variety of films and television shows; he has been teaching privately for over 20 years; and he has performed in several notable theatre productions, including award-winning director Melvin Van Peebles' production of Sweet Sweetback's Baaadaaaas Song, and the New York Theater Workshop's production of A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Ivo Van Hove. Recently, he initiated the Resonant Sculpture Project, an international series of solo musical interactions with the large-scale work of renowned sculptor, Richard Serra. It is a new and innovative work that has succesfully presented at Gagosian Gallery in New York and London, as well as the Princeton Museum of Art.
With a distinctive voice on each of his many woodwinds, Avram is known for the depth, intelligence, and soulfulness that he brings to a wide variety of musical settings. These include performances and recordings of straight-ahead and avant-garde jazz, funk, hip-hop, rhythm and blues, West and North African music, Latin, modern classical, and free jazz. He performs in groups of all sizes --- from solo and duo, to big band and 45-piece orchestra.
His latest album, the long-awaited Big Picture Holiday: Shimmer and Melt, combines many of these past influences in a new and surprising way, marking a major step in his musical trajectory. As an active part of New York City's underground music scene over the last several years, this six-piece electric ensemble has thrived in the wee hours of the city's nightclubs, updating the golden era of jazz as decadent and physical groove music. On this album, he seems to be saying "Yes, it's smart, but it feels good too!!" Big Picture Holiday: Shimmer and Melt will be released on Ropeadope Records on October 30, 2015.
After moving to New York in 1995, Fefer continued indulging his passion for a wide variety of music while developing a unique sound capable of crossing multiple genres.
His love affair with the sax/ bass/ drums trio format blossomed in the city's many jazz clubs and recording studios. His three releases --- Calling All Spirits (2000), Ritual (2009), and Eliyahu (2011) --- feature the bass of Eric Revis and the drums of either Igal Foni or Chad Taylor . These musicians have been playing together in varying combinations for nearly twenty years, making them one of the jazz world's preeminent sax-bass-drum trios. The interactions are fierce, the communication instantaneous, and the musical roles often shifting.
His four releases with legendary jazz pianist Bobby Few received critical acclaim and resulted in tours in Europe and the United States, as well as significant radio airplay for their classic album Kindred Spirits (2005). Whether playing together as a duo or as part of a larger group, they display an uncanny musical rapport on material ranging from interpretations of works by Monk, Mingus, and Ellington, to original compositions and extended improvisations.
Since 2005, he has been a member of the avant-funk collective Burnt Sugar conducted by writer/guitarist Greg Tate . Together they have recorded six albums of original material, as well as repertoire of Sun Ra, James Brown, Miles Davis, and Steely Dan. They have performed in Europe and at a variety of venues in New York, including numerous times at the Apollo Theater in Harlem and the Blue Note Jazz Club. They also played and acted in award-winning director Melvin Van Peebles' stage production of Sweet Sweetback's Baaadaaaas Song.
With Adam Rudolph's Organic Orchestra, he has been consistently chartering new musical territory since 2006, alongside many of New York’Äôs finest improvising musicians. They have recorded two CD’Äôs together and consistently present some of the most interesting and challenging live music on the contemporary scene.
Avram has been playing with bass phenom Michael Bisio for over 20 years. They have toured and recorded many times, including a live recording from the Vision Festival in New York City. Michael and Avram share a rare musical bond. Whether playing jazz standards, a set of improvised music, or a combination of both, their sound is authentic and expressive, allowing them to play spontaneously in a manner that is both joyous and profound.
Bassist and composer Adam Lane has been utilizing Avram's talents in many different contexts and configurations since 2001. With Adam's Full Throttle Orchestra, they toured Europe and released two CD's, including a double CD recorded Live at the Ljubjana Jazz Festival. Their two quartet recordings as the Blue Spirit Band, featuring the late trumpeter Roy Campbell and drummer Vijay Anderson, build on the improvised tradition of the American spiritual as conceived by musicians like Charles Mingus and Albert Ayler. They also have a co-operative band, the NuJu 4tet, featuring Igal Foni and trombonist Reut Regev, which performs original music from all four of its members.
He developed a keen sense of instrumantal blend as a section player and soloist in larger ensembles like the David Murray Big Band, Butch Morris Orchestra, Joseph Bowie Defunkt Big Band, Mingus Big Band, Adam Rudolph's GO:Organic Orchestra, Karl Berger Improvisers Orchestra, Frank Lacy's Vibe Tribe, and the Rob Reddy Octet.
In 2014, after years of documenting his approach to acoustic music, he finally took his electric band into the studio to document the funkier side of his personality, resulting in the eight original pieces featured on Shimmer and Melt.
NY Venues --- Knitting Factory, Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, Birdland, Jazz Standard, Blue Note, Carnegie Hall, BAM, Tonic, The Stone, Zebulon, Barbes, Shapeshifter Lab, Iridium, Roulette, Highline Ballroom, SOB’Äôs, CBGB’Äôs, Drom, Firehouse Space, Bitter End, Poisson Rouge, Visiones, Zinc Bar, NuBlu, The Apollo, Fat Cat, The Living Theater, Joe’Äôs Pub, Central Park Summerstage, ICO Gallery, Gagosian Gallery, Rockwood Music Hall, Brooklyn Museum, Museum of African Art, BRIC, Harlem Studio Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Countries --- USA, Canada, France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Bosia, Croatia, Austria, Lithuania, Greece, Turkey, Belgium, Netherlands, England, Japan, Djibouti, Israel, Morocco.
Festivals --- Montreal Jazz Festival, What is Jazz Festival, JVC Jazz Festival, Free Music Festival, Knitting Factory Festival, Vision Festival, Heineken Jazz Festival, Tel Aviv Jazz Festival, Williamsburg Jazz Festival, Casa del Popolo Festival, Texaco Jazz Festival, Clean Feed Jazz Festival, Ljubjana Jazz Festival, Villach Jazz Festival, Cadence Music Festival, Earshot Jazz Festival, Sant’ÄôAnna Aressi Jazz Festival, Novara Jazz Festival, Burlington Jazz Festival.
Musicians ---- David Murray Big Band, Archie Shepp, Graham Haynes, The Last Poets, Barry Altschul, Sunny Murray, Vernon Reid, Kelvyn Bell,
William Parker, Bobby Few, Fred Hopkins, Saul Williams, ReggieWashington, 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,
Kirk Lightsey, Francis M'bappe, Tony Allen, Michael Bisio, Herb Robertson, Steve Swell, Famoro Diabate, Abou Sylla, Abdoulaye Diabate, Mark Helias, Cyril Atef, Vincent Segal.