We are proud to introduce our most recent Center Stage artist, Neil Tatar. An experienced guitarist who also plays piano, hand drums and percussion. He has a musical orientation that is contemporary in style, primarily rooted in blues, rhythm & blues, and light jazz. Driven by his love of music and passion for helping others, Neil has been a performer and a teacher for more than 35 years.
Neil has been helping others discover and develop their musicality since he was an undergraduate at Boston University in the 1970s. He offered guitar lessons to students in the greater Boston area and also focused on developing his own skills as a performing guitarist. Neil has appeared onstage with a number of musical groups, and more recently has been composing his own music on his newly rebuilt 1925 Steinway piano. Some of these compositions were recorded for his recent CD, “Where Did the Time Go”, a collaboration with Grammy Award winning cellist David Darling. Currently, Neil is developing new material for his upcoming release that is being recorded and produced by Will Ackerman at Imaginary Road Studios.
When Neil isn’t recording music, he focuses his creative energy on leading improvisational workshops. His workshops echo the energy he brings from continued inspiration and training. As President of the Board of Directors and a graduate of the Music for People Musicianship and Leadership program, Neil incorporates the teaching principles of the program to provide participants with the tools to enhance their improvisational skills. He welcomes the musically inexperienced as well as the seasoned professional.
Neil leads workshops for a variety of groups, including adult mental health programs, camps
for children with serious illnesses, assorted college groups, and regional arts councils. As a facilitator, he creates a safe and supportive environment for participants, combining a long standing tai chi practice and meditative philosophy with his enthusiasm and creative energy. True to his devotion to improvisation, Neil’s workshops are playful and never the same. Participants have reported expanding their musical repertoire or happily becoming reacquainted with their musical selves.
A musician through and through, Neil is regularly humming a tune, drumming, playing funky guitar, composing on the piano or pulling something musical from his laptop.
Describe your sound in one ramble-on sentence
A mixture of ambient music and soft jazz, with a light seasoning of rhythmic blues.
What inspires you to make music?
I am constantly inspired by my own life experiences, and my compositions often are a reflection of these experiences.
What aspect of making music excites you the most right now?
Writing new compositions, and working in the studio with other musicians to achieve a creative end result.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a musician?
Making sure my composing is unique, fresh and identifiable as “my” sound. I want the listener to be able to “catch” the emotion that I am trying to convey.
What's one of your all-time favorite recordings?
Peace Piece, Bill Evans
Name three people who have influenced your music, and tell us why- Living or dead. There are numerous influences that cover such a wide range of music, from Miles Davis to Carlos Santana. I would also have to single out my good friend cellist David Darling, who has been a mentor to me in so many ways, and collaborated with me on our latest album “Where Did The Time Go”.
Do you have any recent or upcoming projects you'd like to share with us?
I do have an exciting new album/CD in the works, currently being recorded and produced by legendary guitarist and producer Will Ackerman at Imaginary Road Studios.
What is your ideal or target audience?
Any audience dedicated to listening and appreciating my music. This spans all age groups and covers a wide range of demographics.
Do you write/compose your own songs? Briefly describe your songwriting process.
I am solely dedicated to playing my own music at this stage of my career. The creative process starts with the discovery of “sketches”, or brief phrases that then develop into compositions. I may take an idea and put it aside for several months, only to have it come up at a later date in reference to something I am working on. Most of my compositions are written on either piano or guitar, and there is a distinct difference that is heard in the end result – where composing for guitar tends to be more rhythmic and a bit bluesy, and writing for piano becomes more melodic in structure.
What do you like the most about Radio Airplay?
I like the interaction with the listeners. It adds a human element for me, almost like I know the folks that become fans, send me comments, and appreciate my compositions.