Over the past few decades, the new age genre has produced its share of brilliant pianists and acoustic guitar artists, but none have combined the two core instruments on single recordings as effortlessly and dynamically as Neil Tatar. Continuing the multi-faceted, melodically and rhythmically eclectic vibes that earned him a Zone Music Reporter (ZMR) honor as Best New Artist of 2015, the Upstate New York-based composer and multi-instrumentalist returned to Will Ackerman’s famed Imaginary Road Studios to record his highly-anticipated follow-up album, After The Rain.
Press release by Beth Hilton – The B Company
The self-released album has already topped Amazon’s Hot New Releases (New Age), garnered a mention in The Huffington Post, and received a nomination for a RoundGlass Music Award for “When I Was Young.” The album officially launches today, with all information and listening links at www.neiltatar.com.
“Each of my compositions comes from a place deep inside, and usually originate from an emotion, a life experience, or a remembrance,” Tatar says. “Initially, I find myself playing a brief musical phrase, or ‘sketch’ that can develop quickly or linger for months, coming back when it is ready to inform me of its significance. This process follows a creative path that offers a composition’s meaning to me, and culminates with the end product, a finished piece. I do this purely as a creative process, minimizing all logical thought, no scoring or scripting, just freedom and flow of playing, until it is ready to take form and to record in the studio.”
Early reviews are excellent, referring to After the Rain as “a masterpiece” and “warm, soothing” and even “hypnotic.” In listening, one senses that this may be Tatar’s most personal musical effort yet, and one in which his Tai Chi background and performance gel into a heart-based musical meditation. Tatar says he composes and plays intuitively, without an overriding vision in mind, organically sharing different aspects of his personality. Some fans see his elegant, introspective piano pieces as a link to his heart and soul, while his guitar pieces tap into a more playful side.
After The Rain is a compelling collection of beautifully rendered ensemble pieces that showcase both sides of Tatar’s intricate artistry. One of the most striking piano compositions is the stark, haunting “Rush Pond,” which was inspired by the place he often finds his inspiration. The graceful opening piece “Gentle Steps” is a meditative piece, filled with a sense of patience, a reflection upon life’s most meaningful experiences. With “Freedom” (featuring Jill Haley on English Horn), Tatar reaches out with a call to end oppression for suffering people worldwide. To highlight a few of the soulful and inviting guitar pieces on After The Rain, there is the spirited, tempo-shifting “Sunsets,” featuring interactions with saxophone and dancing violin; the warm and sensual “When I Was Young” with its mood-elevating duality of sax and guitar; and the freewheeling, folksy and jazzy closing piece “Sidewalk Jam.”
Like its predecessor, After The Rain is co-produced by Tatar, Ackerman (who also plays guitar) and Ackerman’s renowned production partner Tom Eaton, who contributes piano and keyboard parts. Testament to the commercial impact and creative influence Tatar has achieved in only a few years as a recording artist, the 10-track collection also features key musical contributions from an ensemble of musical greats, including Charlie Bisharat (violin), Premik Russell Tubbs (sax and EWI), Tony Levin (NS and electric bass), Jeff Oster (flugelhorn), Jill Haley (English horn) Jeff Haynes (percussion) and Eugene Friesen (cello). Vocalists Noah Wilding and Lini Marcotte Tatar add emotional depth to some of the instrumental tracks.
Awareness of Tatar’s talent among New Age fans heightened in 2013 with Where Did The Time Go, his duet album with Grammy-winning cellist David Darling, which received stellar reviews and reached the #1 ranking worldwide on the ZMR Top 100 Global Airplay chart in 2015; it was also a finalist for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album of 2015. Later that year, Tatar’s next album, Learning to Fly, landed on the Grammy ballot for Best New Age album, reached #1 on the ZMR Top 100 Radio Airplay chart and was selected as a finalist for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album of 2015. In May 2016, Tatar was honored by Zone Music Reporter as Best New Artist of 2015, an award presented by broadcasters, reviewers and radio programmers worldwide.
Even more gratifying than awards is simply knowing that his music has touched someone’s life. Tatar recently celebrated the addition of his music to the C.A.R.E. Channel (Healing HealthCare Systems), which supplies music and visuals to 900 hospitals, clinics, medical offices, and residential care facilities in the U.S. and abroad. He also helps others develop their musicality through his workshops with Music For People, which are improvisational and playful, exploring and revealing new skills and inspirations in each participant.
After the Rain is available in both digital and physical format, the latter a gift-worthy six-panel digipak bearing the apt description “Peaceful, Reflective Instrumental Music.” The album is available via all quality online music sites, as well as in mainstream and specialty music stores; physical distribution is serviced by CPI Distribution and New Leaf Distribution. Neil Tatar is an ASCAP artist.
Check out www.neiltatar.com.