About Neff Irizarry


Neff Irizarry has embarked down a path travelled by few guitarists in contemporary jazz and certainly contemporary Latin jazz! Not since the groups of Willie Bobo during the late ‘60s which featured guitarist Sonny Henry has a guitarist attempted to hold down the entire harmonic weight of such a group. To execute all the montunos, guajeos, necessary harmonizations, and to solo with clarity and fire is a tall order but Neff is certainly up to the task. His group is already on the threshold of doing some very interesting things in the genre, and the potential is endless. Neff’s group should open the minds and ears of many as to just what is possible in this format.

Steve Khan

A highly talented Guitarist specializing in Latin Jazz and contemporary jazz, who I came to know quite well years ago while he was an undergraduate student at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and later, in a professional capacity. We actually coincided last year at the famous Birstonas Jazz Festival in Lithuania where he was one of the main artists performing. Throughout this time, I have found Mr. Irizarry to be a tireless worker with a strong work ethic and a high level of focus, which has allowed him to continue developing his artistry…..

Victor Mendoza

Vibraphonist and Professor at Berklee College of Music
Neff Irizarry can play his guitar…a multifaceted exhibition from this young guitarist from the USA. Young but already technically advanced, musically he is up there with the top class of Jazz Musicians.

Jarmo Wallenius

Turun Sanomat
Finally we have a well-honed CD of brazillian renditions of J. Karjalainen’s famous songs.....Naturally, the band consists of vital and important foreign musicians such as Eduardo himself and Johnson, among others. BUT, also one must point out the excellent playing of Puertorican American guitarist, Neff Irizarry II, who is well known by all here in Finland for his own progressive Latin Jazz.

Mikko Saarela

Your activeness, initiative and skill have made you one of the most trusted teachers around me for all these years and this is what made our professional relationship great.

Mika Säily

drummer, pedagog and founder of the new and revolutionary curriculum for vocational studies at the Pop&Jazz Conservatory
I had the honor of working with guitarist Neff Irizarry and his band on this very special Latin Jazz project entitled "Nepenthe". I was attracted to the compositions immediately and I was very interested in the context that is was being presented. Latin music, in general, is not centered around the guitar. The piano is usually the main melodic instrument with the bass and percussion in rhythmic support.
Here with Neff Irizarry and Nepenthe, we have a unique blend of structure and improvisation with the guitar playing the role of the main melodic structure with the support of the bass, percussion and to add yet another unique element, we have a solo saxophonist, Jamie M. Harris, embellishing the melodicism of the guitar with the hot swirling grooves of drummer, Jartsa Karvonen and percussionist Pete Korpela. To that we added an atmospheric element, provided by electronic keyboards. This, in my opinion, was the icing on the cake and brought a mysteriously open and fresh cinematic coloring to this infectious and alluring recording.
All in all, I hope that you enjoy this very innovative Latin Jazz creation by Neff Irizarry and Nepenthe which combines the earthy and rich Latin rhythms of Cuba and Puerto Rico surrounded by a vibrant panoramic score.

Jimmy Haslip

Under the tutelage of Victor Mendoza, Irizarry played a synthesis of John Abercrombie, Kenny Burrell and Joe Pass- lines. The package of his style was 'well thought, genuine JAZZ'.

Jarmo Wallenius

Turun Sanomat
Neff Irizarry can play his guitar…a multifaceted exhibition from this young guitarist from the USA. Young but already technically advanced, musically he is up there with the top class of Jazz Musicians.

Ulf Överfors

Mr. Neff Irizarry’s personality is open, direct and happy. Many times, we chatted early in the morning before his classes upon our common points of interest, especially playing and teaching the electric guitar, and obscure Jazz and Rhythm and Blues recording of the past. I sincerely miss those discussions, and his sophisticated and intellectual approach towards any arising questions. I see in him the many qualities of both and excellent teacher and a dedicated working companion.

Tapio Kallio

Planning Manager Pop&Jazz Conservatory, Helsinki, Finland
Thank you for a long and successful co-operation during the past years, it has been a pleasure.

Tanja Lehmonen

Sales Manager Fazer Cafés Finland