Jazz guitarist Nir Felder touches on different “ages” on this solo release. The former sideman for contemporary artists Esperanza Spalding, Jack DeJohnette, Meshell Ndegeocello and more plays in various styles—echoing artists from Wes Montgomery to Lou Reed—and points to significant historical periods by sampling political speeches in a couple of tracks. The voices of Mario Cuomo, Jesse Jackson, Hilary Clinton and many others are woven through the songs “Lights and “Sketch.”
Golden Age (OKeh Records) was recorded in Sear Sound with engineer Chris Allen and producer Bob Power, and mixed by Felder and Power. Allen says almost all instrument tracks were captured live, with drummer Nate Smith in a booth and the rest of the musicians—Felder, pianist Aaron Parks and bass player Matt Penman—in one studio.
Felder’s rig—which the guitarist describes as “a ’95 Tex-Mex Strat through a Polytone Mini-Brute II amp with a whole lot of pedals in between,” was triple-miked: “I used a [Neumann] U 67 straight on and a Shure 57 off-axis, and I put them right up against each other,” Allen says. “I also placed an RCA 44 a few feet back and four or five feet from the ground.
“The 67 has a really solid low end with a really nice bright high end,” he continues. “The 57 gives you that—well, that typical sound that everybody knows—and the off-axis placement keeps it from getting too boomy. Combining the two of them, to me, always sounds like I’m sitting in front of the amp. And then the 44 gives everything a little space, a little air around it—a warm, gentle sound. A lot of people use very bright room mics, but to me that makes it too obvious that there’s a room mic in the mix.”