Release date: August 7, 2020
Label: Outside in Music
“All music, but particularly jazz is the ultimate example of the beauty that can be created by learning from and appreciating disparate cultures. Jazz is the ultimate expression of freedom.”
- Javier Nero
Inspired by his multi-cultural ancestry, and amidst the current politically-fuelled times, trombonist, composer, arranger, and educator, Dr. Javier Nero has found himself ruminating upon the word “freedom” and what it means to him. Blending jazz with elements of folk, Americana and blues, this twelve-track collection of genre-spanning originals displays the bandleader’s desire to establish the greater good of humanity as the top priority in today’s socio-political spectrum. On Freedom, the NYC-based trombonist is joined by Tom Kelley (saxophones/flute), Melvin Butler (saxophones), Jean Caze (trumpet/flugelhorn), Tal Cohen (piano), Dion Kerr (bass) and Aaron Kimmel (drums). Javier is thrilled to also welcome special guests, Grammy Award-nominated pianist Shelly Berg, Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Brian Lynch, vocalist Lauren Desberg, guitarist Russ Spiegel, vibraphonist Kyle Athayde, and percussionist Murphy Aucamp. Ahead of the release of Freedom, track 8 “Discord” will be released as a single on June 23rd, followed by “Crystal Lake” on July 7th.
With the release of Freedom, Javier Nero strives to encourage human cooperation, through which individuality and identity can then be elevated. With ancestral roots of African, Western European, Native American, and Hispanic descent, Nero recognizes the importance of exploring and exhibiting one’s true, authentic personality. In a complex society that so often forces conformity to cultural norms, Javier reflects upon how challenging it can be to realise individual freedom and expression. Growing up in a middle-class white neighborhood in Washington State, the trombonist faced discrimination from both the black and white communities. To Javier, refusing to separate skin color from culture is the fuel of racism - rejecting to see human beings as nuanced individuals rather than as an amalgam of the intersection of the groups they belong to, will likely perpetuate a vicious unending cycle destined to repeat itself.
“We are all complex individuals that should not be ruled by what others think we should be, or think we should believe. I certainly do not believe my ancestors who fought for freedom and equality did so hoping to find themselves limited or forced to conform to myopic cultural norms, and social pressures on the other side of the battle.”
Freedom is a collection of original compositions written at various points during Javier’s career thus far. Composed just days after graduating from the Juilliard School, the title track is a triumphant and nostalgic opus which features a melody evocative of the Western-European tradition, and American patriotic music. The song melds elements of Americana, along with the blues, as well as African rhythms. Other standout tracks, written during his time at the NYC conservatory include “Just Let Go”, “Reality” and “Midnight Groove.” While at the University of Miami, obtaining his Master’s and Doctoral Degrees, Javier majored in composition/arranging. It was during this time that the composer took an in-depth look at the timbre and textures of the instruments created through orchestrational techniques. This study went on to yield an array of dynamic compositions including “Crystal Lake” and “I Tried So Hard.” Similar to “Just Let Go”, “I Tried So Hard” is an attempt to convey through music the feelings of hopelessness, anger and resentment that so often become apparent during the final days and in the wake of a relationship. Track 8, “Discord” in which the composer reflects upon the naivety of young love, is due out as the lead single from the album on June 23rd. To be released as a follow-up single on July 7th, “Crystal Lake” is a sonic representation of a beautiful lake in Miami, Florida. Reflecting on his time living upon the waterfront, Javier explains how this track attempts to capture both the beauty and mystery of the water.
Exploring the emotions, topics and sounds experienced by humanity, Javier Nero offers the music on Freedom to anyone who wishes to enjoy the beauty of human collaboration. This music is not reserved or intended for a person of any particular color, or for anyone that holds any particular political or philosophical stance. Javier believes that, “choosing sides is not choosing truth. Choosing black over white, or white over black, is not choosing truth. True freedom is being defined by each of our own unique, nuanced, and individual characteristics. True freedom is casting off the societal mold and being and expressing our true selves.”
More about Javier Nero
Winner of the 2011 International Trombone Association’s Carl Fontana Competition, the ITA’s 2013 JJ Johnson Competition, the 2014 American Trombone Workshop National Jazz Solo Competition, and the 2015 Texas State Trombone Symposium Jazz Trombone Competition, Dr. Javier Nero has collaborated and recorded with multiple Grammy Award-winning musicians including Brian Lynch, John Daversa, and Shelly Berg. He has also performed with many local staples in the Miami jazz community such as Richie Cole, Martin Bejerano, Errol Rackipov, Felipe Lamoglia, Tal Cohen, and Jean Caze.
Since relocating to NYC, Dr. Nero has been performing regularly with The Robert Edwards Big Band, Steven Feifke Big Band, Remy Le Boeuf’s Assembly of Shadows, Manuel Valera Jazz Orchestra, the award-winning Haitian band “KLASS”, the Hacidic Jewish community, the Broadway Inspirational Voices, and many other jazz ensembles. Javier also leads two of his own ensembles, “The Javier Nero Septet” and “The Javier Nero Jazz Orchestra. Javier Nero recently held the trombone position on the multiple award-winning Off-Broadway production of “The Secret Life of Bees”. He also performed and arranged music for a special performance at Carnegie Hall “Take Me to the World” celebrating the music of Stephen Sondheim featuring singer/actor, Tituss Burgess.
As a composer, Nero’s “Tesseract” for jazz orchestra was the winner of the 2018 Ithaca College Composer Contest which featured drummer, Matt Wilson. His composition “Kemet” was an honorable mention in the 2019 Ithaca College Jazz Composition Contest, which featured Jazz at Lincoln Center’s lead trombonist, Vincent Gardner. He has also written compositions and arrangements that were performed/recorded by vocalist Veronica Swift, Steve Miller, the Frost Symphony Orchestra, the Frost Concert Jazz Band, Studio Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Vocal 1, Extensions, The Juilliard Jazz Orchestra, The Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra and many more.
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LAST ROW MUSIC
"Nero’s first album introduces the world to his music, thoughts, and styles that make him an up-and-coming artist in Jazz today. His use of harmony is on-point while still embodying a beautiful and stirring melody. By pulling together a talented group of artists, one hopes to hear more of Nero’s unique voice in many albums to come." Read the full review here.
BRENDA NELSON - STRAUSS
"Freedom is a stunningly mature and cohesive album that displays phenomenal musicianship from all members of the ensemble – an auspicious debut for Javier Nero!" Read the full review here.
"While the album has some genre-bending moments, this is principally a straight-ahead jazz effort, filled with inspired solos, shifting tempos, and mostly highly lyrical turns from all." Read the full article here.
"It’s a post-bop fest that swings and zings the ear with contrapuntal surprises and a fervent ardor for all things positive. We need this guy!" Read the full review here.
"These collaborations confirm once again that music transcends cultural boundaries."
Read the full review here.
"Inspired by his multi-cultural ancestry, trombonist/composer Javier Nero ruminates on the word “freedom” and what it means to him on his forthcoming album." Read the full article here.
LET'S CALL THIS
"Caribbean rhythms keep everything moving and Nero’s chops and control impress." Read the full review here.
"A multi culti trombonist serves up an original program of jazz based multi culti music, just what his particular doctor ordered for these miasmic times." Read the full review here.