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Musician spotlight: Kire Najdovski 

click to enlarge Kire Najdovski. - PHOTO PROVIDED
  • PHOTO PROVIDED
  • Kire Najdovski.

Guitarist Kire Najdovski’s playing style is one of brute strength, speed, and melody. His instrumental rock music is like a soundtrack to heading north on Route 5 in a Mustang at 110 miles per hour.

The Macedonian-born, Rochester-based musician is the driving force behind his namesake band, which just released its new album “Wish” in late November. But he’s also played guitar with the New Jersey-based group Al Chez and the Brothers of Funk Big Band for 10 years. Chez and his screaming trumpet had been a fixture on Late Night and The Late Show with David Letterman for over a quarter-century.

But that’s not the only prominent musical collaborator Najdovksi has had in recent years. Since 2017, he’s also played with bassist Billy Sheehan, drummer Mark Miller, and vocalist Phil Naro of the Buffalo-born hard rock band Talas.

Najdovski first began playing guitar at nine years old. His very first guitar — a knockoff version of the Fender Telecaster — is still at his mom’s house in Macedonia.

Today, Najdovski possesses a relentless slash-and-burn, prog-rock style, à la Steve Vai or Jeff Beck. Listening to “Wish” — which was written and completed since the pandemic started — is like riding a roller coaster in the dark. The journey is unpredictable.

Joined by bandmates Don Torpy on bass and Emmett Lentilucci on drums, Najdovksi keeps the groove machine running and relies heavily on improvisation. Highlights included the high-powered opening track “Catch Me if You Can” and the Deep Purple-esque “Creative Distance.”

Frank De Blase is CITY’s music writer. He can be reached at fdeblase@rochester-citynews.com.
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