About Neff Irizarry
“The guitar is my calling ...”
I remember vividly till this day the moment when Mrs. Parker, my 6th grade music teacher, told us that we were going to learn to play either guitar or piano. As she looked at me square in the eye, she spoke that word that has forever changed my life, you will play the “GUITAR”.
As I look back over the 30 years of my musical voyage, the guitar has been an endless source of musical, pedagogical and compositional possibilities for which I have been eternally grateful. That endless source, with its soulful sonorous magnetism, guided my personal compass, which never steered me astray. In fact, my desire to understand and assimilate its many mysteries unknowingly always attracted people and situations that created a lifetime of exciting opportunities.
My relationship with Berklee began in 1990 at the 5 week program which inspired me to enroll from 1992-1996. Amazingly enough, I was rewarded with great musical comrades and teacher/mentors that continue to fuel my musical passions till this day. Most importantly, I was chosen to be a student of Steve Khan’s during his residency in 1994. Steve noticed the hard work that I was investing in Contemporary modern Latin Jazz guitar under the watch of Victor Mendoza, and gave me the extra tutelage that would prepare me for the career ahead.
That extra tutelage combined with the Berklee experience made my career in Northern Europe one of strong and consistent growth till this day. My roots are Puerto Rican which gave me that Latin sense of melody and rhythm: “Sabor”. This “Sabor” inspired my first CD “Nepenthe” produced by Jimmy Haslip, my compositional debut in The European Real Book by Chuck Sher, the countless performances alongside jazz greats to my career as an educator/guest lecturer at the Pop & Jazz Conservatory Helsinki, Finland for 18 years , and my artist endorsements with Vovox Cables and Curt Mangan Strings.