Mr. Blue Eyes
For Immediate Release ANNOUNCING THE RELEASE OF MR. BLUE EYES (CD), GUITARIST SAREL RIVER'S HOMAGE TO A CHILD'S SHORT LIFE New York, NY, August 1, 2005--- Guitarist Sarel River is announcing the immediate release of Mr. Blue Eyes, his third studio recording. Recorded in April 2005 at Acoustic Sound, Mr. Blue Eyes features eight of Sarel River's original compositions, supported by an ensemble that includes Ron McClure (Bass), Bruce Hall (Drums), David Berkman (Piano), Dave Scott (Trumpet & Flugelhorn), Adam Kolker (Soprano, Alto & Tenor Saxophone, Alto Flute), and Allen Ferber (Trombone.) Mr. Blue Eyes follows 1999's 2 In One, characterized by the unique blend of Mr. Sarel's guitar and Matan Klein's flute. The subject of the transcendent Mr. Blue Eyes is Sarel and Daphne Sack River's baby boy Ethan, who passed away from cancer in June of 2004, at the age of eight months. The idea for the title song came just two weeks before the baby's sudden illness and death, as Sarel was looking into his son's eyes one day, understanding for the first time in his life the meaning of 'unconditional love.' In the grief and shock that followed the couple's loss, Sarel was unable to touch his guitar for several months. When he finally did, the project was born as a dedication to his first child, with each title and composition having a reference to the baby's innocent, joyful life. The recording is at once ebullient and brooding, complex and completely accessible. It reflects the skills of a maturing artist who has by necessity transformed tragedy into a stunning homage. Mr. River's love affair with music began in his childhood home in Haifa, Israel, surrounded by European classical music and opera. When the 1960's pop revolution started to filter onto Israeli radio from England, Sarel became a Beatles fanatic, captivated by the group's simplicity and lyricism. He learned to play the guitar, and after his mandatory military service in the Israeli army he was introduced to jazz by his first teacher. Says River, 'After that, it was all jazz, all the time.' River left Israel in 1989 to enter Boston's Berklee College of Music, one of the world's most prestigious musical laboratories. At Berklee, Sarel began an intensive collaboration with professor Jerry Bergonzi, the private teacher who encouraged and honed Sarel's improvisational skills. River began to step out professionally while still a student at Berklee, soloing in concerts with The Boston Afro-American Artist Association Festival in Copley Square, and at the Lawrence and Alma Berk Recital Hall. Sarel moved to Budapest in 1994, and found that the emerging Eastern European city was becoming a musical destination for the festival crowd. During the cold, bleak winter of 1995, Sarel began to teach, play sessions and write. One result of that experience is his unusual composition, 'Budapest in 95,' which appears on 2 In One. Sarel returned to Boston after a year and within months, he relocated to New York City, where he has become known on the scene for his commitment to performing his original compositions. Sarel River's career goals are forthright and simple: to learn every day how to write better, play better, how to mature as a musician; to secure a distribution deal for Mr. Blue Eyes; to continue doing choice gigs where he showcases his original compositions. He listens to his favorites for inspiration: Red Garland, Coltrane, Django Reinhardt, and Sarah Vaughn among others. But when he's driving, he listens to pop. Says Sarel River, 'Sometimes simple things have a greater impact than all that complicated stuff.' When reflecting on the jazz he encountered and wrote in Budapest, River stated that everyone's personal expression is influenced by his environment and experiences. Sarel River can make that statement with a bittersweet confidence about his newest release, Mr. Blue Eyes.