How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Though the picture on this disc's cover might bring to mind some kind of 1970s folk-rock star, the music inside has nothing to do with that. The Israeli-born bassist weaves through a variety of feels, from simple funky beats to more complex rhythmical patterns with some Latin-inspired moments in between.
On "Big Time, Avital begins with a heavily syncopated bass line for his sextet to follow, the piece running just under four minutes in a showcase for pianist Jason Lindner. Live at the CD release party at Jazz Standard, the piece was extended to include solos by saxophonist Joel Frahm and trumpeter Avishai Cohen.
"Sea and Sand finds Cohen playing a beautiful solo with a flurry of notes slightly reminiscent of Arturo Sandoval (except that there are none of the Cuban musician's trademark high notes) while drummer Johnathan Blake fills each empty space with expertly-placed beats. Cohen is again featured in a call-and-response opening to "Song of Thanks, one of the highlights of both the album and the live set. Unfortunately trombonist Avi Lebovich was not on hand at the concert, so his smart fills on this track, as well as the rest of the album, were missed.
Listen also to "Middle Eastern Sunset, in which Avital plays double duty on bass and oud (an instrument sadly not played live). It is a short track that could almost act as a prelude to "Lilian in The Big Blue but even at two minutes changes the entire feel of the disc, showing a different side of Avital's musical influences.
Arrival is not a jazz album per se; instead, it goes into many different directions from a player refreshingly comfortable in various musical settings.
Track Listing: Song for Amos; Big Time; Third World Love Story; Sea and Sand; Arrival; Faith; Cypresses; Vincent; Song of Thanks; Middle Eastern Sunset; Lilian in the Big Blue.
Personnel: Omer Avital: bass, oud, vocals; Jason Lindner: piano, Fender rhodes, vocals; Jonathan Blake: drums, tambourine, vocals;
Joel Frahm: saxophones, vocals; Avi Lebovitch: trombone, vocals; Avishai Cohen: trumpet, vocals.