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  • PHOTO PROVIDED

  • Kire Najdovski.

Guitarist Kire Najdovski’s playing style is characterized by brutal strength, speed and melody. His instrumental rock music is like a soundtrack to going north on Route 5 in a Mustang at 110 mph.

The Macedonian born musician from Rochester is the driving force behind his band of the same name, which released their new album “Wish” at the end of November. He also played guitar for 10 years with the New Jersey-based group Al Chez and the Brothers of Funk Big Band. Chez and his screaming trumpet have been a staple on Late Night and The Late Show with David Letterman for over a quarter of a century.

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

Najdovski started playing the guitar at the age of nine. His very first guitar – a knockoff version of the Fender Telecaster – is still in his mother’s house in Macedonia.

Today Najdovski has a relentless slash-and-burn-prog-rock style à la Steve Vai or Jeff Beck. Listening to “Wish,” written and completed since the pandemic began, is like taking a roller coaster ride in the dark. The journey is unpredictable.

Together with band mates Don Torpy on bass and Emmett Lentilucci on drums, Najdovksi keeps the groove machine running and relies heavily on improvisation. The highlights included the powerful opener “Catch Me if You Can” and the Deep Purple-like “Creative Distance”.

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

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