NIC VARDANEGA

Fusion / Post-Fusion Contemporary • Australia
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Nominated for "Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year", guitarist/composer Nic Vardanega is an innovative artist on the international jazz scene. Currently based in New York City, he has played with many of Australia's leading musicians including pianist Mike Nock and alongside many first call New York City musicians.

After completing a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2012 where he held a Board of Governors scholarship, Nic worked extensively as a sideman and bandleader in Australia. He has appeared at many of the country's leading festivals including the Manly Jazz Festival, Noosa Jazz Festival and Darling Harbour Jazz Festival.

In December 2014, Nic released his debut album as a leader titled Inverno - a collection of original music inspired by his Italian heritage with his Sydney quartet. The album was well received with a nomination in the prestigious Bells Australian Jazz Awards.

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NIC VARDANEGA Inverno album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Inverno
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2014
NIC VARDANEGA Point in Time album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Point in Time
Fusion 2019
NIC VARDANEGA New Beginning album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
New Beginning
Fusion 2023

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NIC VARDANEGA Reviews

NIC VARDANEGA New Beginning

Album · 2023 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Carmel
Today, jazz lovers, we are talking about contemporary jazz, Australian-born guitarist and composer Nic Vardanega, and his album, “New Beginning,” presented in a guitar, bass, and drums trio format. Through eight original compositions, Vardanega, alongside bassist Ben Allison and drummer Allan Mednard, craft a set of music with a distinct identity that explores the nuanced interplay of a trio deeply in sync.

“New Beginning” is anchored by Vardanega's robust guitar abilities. His playing combines precision and patience, seamlessly integrating catchy melodic lines with colorful chordal structures. The opening track, "New Beginning," exemplifies this balance, weaving Latin rhythms with the folk-jazz essence, creating a lively piece endowed with lyricism. Vardanega's solos shine brightly on the project, particularly in tracks like "Side Effects" and "Glass Moon," where his ability to construct complex melodies with expressive rhythmic depth is fully displayed.

Compositionally, Vardanega's work on “New Beginning” is the root of the trio's sound. Each piece is a distinct narrative chapter, reflecting his personal and musical growth. The album's thematic coherence is rooted in the idea of renewal, mirroring Vardanega's life transitions, including his recent fatherhood. This personal touch imbues the album with authenticity and emotional resonance, particularly in the reflective "M's Lullaby" and the vibrant "Summers."

The trio's interaction is another highlight of the album. The synergy between Vardanega, Allison, and Mednard is palpable, creating a dynamic and responsive musical conversation. This is evident in the playful interchange of "Inner Episode" and the soulful dialogue of "Looking Back." Allison's bass lines provide a solid foundation, while Mednard's drumming adds texture and momentum, allowing Vardanega's guitar to express the song's intricacies freely. Their collective empathy enhances the album's overall feel, making each composition a shared expression of virtuosity and vision that combines to form a cohesive whole.

The album navigates through a spectrum of moods and styles, from the buoyant rhythms of "Cardenas" to the cinematic narrative of "Looking Back." "Inner Episode" is a modern jazz composition showcasing the trio's ability to blend modern harmonic colors with a fluid swing. Inspired by jazz legends like Joe Henderson, Vardanega infuses his playing with a modern jazz vocabulary informed by today's jazz structures and deeply rooted in the tradition of bop and post-bop.

“New Beginning” is a solid outing for the jazz guitar trio. Vardanega's compositions reflect and enable his musical identity, enriched by the rapport and versatility of his collaboration with Allison and Mednard. The album has a fresh influence from Australian folk music with contemporary American modern jazz sounds. “New Beginning” is a tasteful set with musicality and a trio that is cohesive in its interplay, making “New Beginning” an exciting listen.

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