Grammy-nominated trombonist-composer Alan Ferber has been called “one of the jazz world’s premier composers and arrangers for larger groups” by All About Jazz NY. Jazz Times magazine describes Ferber’s compositions as “inspired and meticulous” and the L.A. Weekly deems him “one of the premier modern jazz arrangers of our time.” For the last six years, he has been recognized as one of the leading trombonists of his generation in Down Beat magazine’s International Critics’ Poll and Readers’ Poll. Ferber was the recipient of a 2013 New Jazz Works grant from Chamber Music America, funded by the Doris Duke Foundation. Since 2011, he has been an Adjunct Professor of jazz studies at New York University’s Steinhardt School.
Ferber’s aesthetic approach prescribes a deep knowledge of the jazz tradition as a means toward meaningful innovation. Appropriately, the Wall Street Journal describes his music as “somehow both old school and cutting edge.” He has released seven albums as a bandleader, most recently an eight-movement original piece for his working nonet called “Roots & Transitions” on Sunnyside Records. In 2013, Alan Ferber released an album for 17-piece big band on the Sunnyside label, entitled March Sublime. It features stunningly original compositions and arrangements and was nominated for a 2014 Grammy award in the ‘Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album’ category. Prior to that, Ferber released “Music For Nonet & Strings” (Sunnyside) which received a coveted 4 star review in Down Beat and was named one the magazine’s “Best CDs of the Year.”
Ferber’s music draws from a broad stylistic base informed by the array of artists with whom he has closely worked. In the jazz world, he has performed and/or recorded with Best New Artist Grammy-winner Esperanza Spalding’s Radio Music Society, the Dr. Lonnie Smith Octet, the Ted Nash Big Band, Todd Sickafoose’s Tiny Resistors, MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenon’s Identities Big Band, the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra, the Charlie Hunter Quintet, Michael Formanek’s Ensemble Kolossus, the David Binney/Edward Simon Group, the Lee Konitz Nonet, John Ellis’s Double Wide, the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, and Don Byron’s Mickey Katz Project.
He has worked extensively in other genres as well with artists including Peter Gabriel (Live at the Ed Sullivan Theater), Paul Simon, Sufjan Stevens (Age of Adz & All Delighted People), The National (on Grammy-nominated Trouble Will Find Me), Dr. Dre, Harry Connick Jr, Michael Buble, and Beirut. His discography lists over 150 CDs on which he has played trombone and/or composed and arranged music.
Ferber’s accomplishments extend well beyond his recordings. His recent composer-arranger commissions include Kopi Luwak (2013) and Luteous Pangolin (Ben Monder) written for the Atlantic Brass Quintet (and released on their 2014 album Crossover on Summit Records); Lost In The Hours for the saxophonist Paul McCandless for a performance with the NYU Jazz Orchestra at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York; I Sing For You (N King) and I Get Along Without You Very Well (H Carmichael) for Sara and Rachel Caswell with the JazzMn Orchestra; Hyperballad (Bjork) for the classical music outfit Bang On A Can’s Asphalt Orchestra; Farewell (Nelson Foltz) for a recording with 8 trombones and acclaimed vocalist Rebecca Martin; and nine arrangements for Korean Sony recording artist Youngjoo Song’s 2015 release, Reflection, nominated for Jazz Album of the Year at the 2015 Korean Music Awards .
In addition to New York University, Ferber has also been on faculty at the John J Cali School of Music at Montclair State University, the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, and the New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music. He has worked regularly on the faculties of several summer jazz programs including the Taipei International Summer Jazz Academy, the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the Lafayette Summer Music Jazz Workshop, Cal State University’s Summer Arts Perspectives In Jazz program, the Maine Jazz Camp, and the Guimaraes Jazz Festival Workshop in Portugal. He has appeared as a clinician and soloist with numerous universities including the University of Oregon, Cal State Northridge, Kansas University, the University of Miami, the Lawrence Conservatory, Middle Tennessee State University, and the University of Nevada Las Vegas.