"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." 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)
Avram Fefer is a jazz saxophonist, composer and bandleader, currently residing in New York City. He has been performing and recording internationally since 1990, with ten album releases as a leader and many more as a sideman. He enjoys collaborations with creative artists of all sorts, including poets, dancers, painters, and digital sound designers. 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 recently acted in award-winning director Melvin Van Peebles' stage production of Sweet Sweetback's Baaadaaaas Song. In 2012, he initiated the Resonant Sculpture Project , a series of solo musical interactions with large-scale sculptures --- in particular, the monumental work of Richard Serra.
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, jazz-funk, hip-hop, rhythm and blues, West African, Latin, modern classical, and free jazz. He performs in groups of all sizes --- from solo and duo, to big band and 45-piece orchestra.
From the earliest days of his career, Avram embraced the sax, bass, and drums format as a foundation for exploration and expression. His trio 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.
In addition to leading his own groups, Fefer is part of several long-term musical associations. Since 2005, he has been a member of the avant-funk collective Burnt Sugar conducted by writer/guitarist Greg Tate . Together they have recorded five 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.
He has been consistently chartering new musical territory with Adam Rudolph's Organic Orchestra 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.
Avram Fefer was born near San Francisco, but his early years were also spent in Pittsburgh, PA., Stockholm, Sweden, and Washington D.C. before the family finally settled near Seattle, Washington. After several fortuitous years in the hands of 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. He was also one of the founding members and featured soloists of the French acid jazz group, BDT, recording two top-selling CD's for Virgin Records in 1994 and 95.
After moving to New York in the mid 1990's, Fefer continued indulging his passion for a wide variety of music while developing a unique sound capable of crossing multiple genres. The influence of Ornette Coleman and Miles Davis had inspired the formation of his funk band Avram's Acid Base in Paris, and continued in newer incarnations as The Tone Poets, and then more recently as Avram's Electric Kool-Aid. Featuring musicians such as Reggie Washington, Dave Fiuczynski, Jonathan Crayford, Marlon Browden, Kenny Wessel, Dave Phelps, and John Medeski, these groups have given Avram the opportunity to incoroporate new ideas and influences into the repertoire even as he unifies the overall sound. They went into the studio in the summer of 2014 to document this original and evocative repertoire and should have a finished product by 2015.
Another electric offshoot reflects a more abstract approach to texture and groove. The influence of trip-hop, jungle, and drum 'n bass styles 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). These bands were big parts of downtown New York's underground scene.
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.
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, Harlem Studio Museum.
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
David Murray Big Band, Archie Shepp, Graham Haynes, The Last Poets, Barry Altschul, Sunny Murray, 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, Karl Berger, 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.