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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Aaron Goldberg / Ali Jackson Jr. / Omer Avital: Yes!

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The strains of wistful longing are almost palpable right through the length and breadth of Yes!, a remarkable album by a remarkable trio. Pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Omer Avital and drummer Ali Jackson Jr. play with such empathy that they appear of one mind, body and soul. This is the stuff that significant music has been made of for decades, which is why this trio sounds as if it were raising the ghost of those of the great Ahmad Jamal. Few records can compare with Yes! for its sheer beauty, singular brevity of statement, richness of ideas and absolutely virtuosic ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Omer Avital: Free Forever

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Omer AvitalFree ForeverSmalls Records2011 Bassist Omer Avital is not a household name. Despite a surge of media coverage about the rise of Israeli expats on the New York jazz scene, despite playing a central role in a variety of ensembles at the now-beloved Smalls jazz club, and despite appearing on several dozen recordings, Avital's name continues to register as little more than a faint echo in the background of the jazz consciousness. Perhaps he has a bassist's natural tendency to support rather than to shine in the spotlight, or perhaps his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Omer Avital: Arrival

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Omer Avital Group: Room To Grow

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In 1996, the Omer Avital Group was in transition. Due to their increasing workload outside the band, Avital was forced to replace original members Ali Jackson and Mark Turner. Losing musicians of that quality would have crippled other groups; but if Room To Grow (recorded live at Smalls the following year) is any indication, the band didn't miss a beat when drummer Joe Strasser and tenor player Grant Stewart took their places.

Room To Grow has only three tracks--one original (Avital's “Kentucky Girl ) and two standards. That's not a very varied menu, and leaves the band open to charges ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Omer Avital Group: Room to Grow

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Opening with the soul-full call of the acoustic bass, Omer Avital's Room to Grow speaks from and to the heart with the very first note. Recorded live in early 1997, the album is the second in a series on Smalls Records documenting the bassist's growth as an instrumentalist, composer, arranger and bandleader. Like its predecessor, Asking No Permission, Room features a four-saxophone sextet, retaining the services of Greg Tardy (tenor) and Myron Walden (alto) from the original group, with additional tenor talent provided by Grant Stewart and Charles Owens, and Joe Strasser filling the drum chair. Without a chordal instrument ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Omer Avital Group: Room to Grow

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Recorded 1997 at Smalls in New York, this session maintains the growth that was spawned by the late John Coltrane thirty to forty years earlier. Along with the traditional elements that made their way into jazz from European classical music, Omer Avital's ensembles add Middle Eastern ties that broaden the harmonic horizon and create fresh new attire. Theirs is an exciting adventure that merely evolves from the roots of the master.

The combination of four saxophones with bass and drums seems like unusual instrumentation, even for a modern jazz sextet. Since the four horns serve as a saxophone ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Omer Avital: The Ancient Art of Giving

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In a (re)return of the prodigious prodigal son, the Israeli-born and New York City-seasoned Omer Avital is back on the block after extended musical fieldwork in his native land. The Ancient Art of Giving presents the vibrant and eclectic bassist with a host of jazz adepts: Mark Turner (tenor), Avishai Cohen (trumpet), Aaron Goldberg (piano) and Ali Jackson (drums), all veterans of and close collaborators in the underground (literally!) scene at Smalls, a “new -breed Mecca under the auspices of the eccentrically avuncular Mitch Borden.

Pressed on the club's in-house label, this disc captures the spirits of the times, rendered ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Omer Avital: The Ancient Art of Giving

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In a live appearance at Fat Cat in New York, Omer Avital's quintet interprets seven of the bassist's compositions with emotions bared and a collective sigh for the program's connection to tradition. Echoes of Israel combine with a hard bop New York feeling to marry modern jazz with the past.

Trumpeter Avishai Cohen and tenor saxophonist Mark Turner carry the quintet's front line with suave tones and comfortable harmonies. Pianist Aaron Goldberg sparkles with uplifting cascades, while drummer Ali Jackson colors each selection with gritty textures. Throughout the session, the leader urges his partners forward with a forceful ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Omer Avital Group: Asking No Permission

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The Omer Avital Group was a mainstay at New York's Smalls club in the mid '90s. An unfortunate turn of events with record companies suppressed the bassist/composer's major label debut, and in recent years Avital has spent more time working and studying in his native Israel. But with the release of Asking No Permission and a recent series of Greenwich Village gigs, including a near-magical set at the Fat Cat in mid-January, New York's jazz scene is once again abuzz with Avital's name. The first of four planned releases of recordings from the Smalls years, Asking No ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Omer Avital Group: Asking No Permission

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Omer Avital's new release, Asking No Permission, isn't actually new at all. Rather, it's the first of the projected four-disc series The Smalls Years, presenting live performances of bassist/composer Omer Avital's group at the West Village Smalls nightclub in 1996-97. It's not unheard of for a label to release archival live performances simply because, well, they've got the tapes and they might as well--but this previously unreleased set of seven tunes, recorded on one Thursday night in April of 1996, is very much a keeper. This is engaging, richly enjoyable and undated music.Avital's band is notable for both ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Omer Avital Group: Asking No Permission

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In a live 1996 session at Smalls in New York, Omer Avital leads this stellar sextet through a program of six originals and one standard. Nothing is standard, however, about the way this double bassist interprets modern jazz.

A “young lion on the New York jazz scene, Avital was born in Israel. He studied classical guitar at the Givataim Conservatory and switched to acoustic bass at Talma Yalin, Israel's leading high school for the arts. In his early twenties, he was on hand when Smalls opened, and he became a regular fixture there through the late '90s. Today, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Omer Avital Group: Think With Your Heart

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Pure Post Bop.

Avishai Cohen is not the only Israeli-born bassist flexing his muscles on the United States Jazz Scene. Omer Avital has provided an expansive debut recording in Think With Your Heart. Hyperintelligent and free, Think With Your Heart could be considered what happens to Post Bop as a genre when it is perfected. Add to this the ethnic flair that is infused (hear the cacophonous opening to “Flow") and the music makes an almost religious statement demanding to be heard.

Nothin here would betray this a freshman recording effort. Avital has two solo excursions on the disc, the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Omer Avital Group: Think With Your Heart

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These days, when a young bassist leads a horns-based band, the comparisons and correlations to the late Charles Mingus become inevitable. Israeli-born bassist/composer Omer Avital delivers the goods in prominent fashion while exhibiting star-like qualities on his debut solo offering, entitled Think With Your Heart !

The band launches into a zestful Afro-Cuban groove, featuring Jay Collins' peppery flute work on “Flow." With this piece, Avital's fluent upper register soloing and broad toned walking bass lines augment the soloists' radiant unison choruses and melodious lyricism. Elsewhere, the musicians sustain a series of tightly woven frameworks while also communicating a loose ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Omer Avital Group: Think With Your Heart

Read "Think With Your Heart"

These days, when a young bassist leads a horns-based band, the comparisons and correlations to the late Charles Mingus become inevitable. Israeli-born bassist/composer Omer Avital delivers the goods in prominent fashion while exhibiting star-like qualities on his debut solo offering, entitled Think With Your Heart !

The band launches into a zestful Afro-Cuban groove, featuring Jay Collins' peppery flute work on “Flow." With this piece, Avital's fluent upper register soloing and broad toned walking bass lines augment the soloists' radiant unison choruses and melodious lyricism. Elsewhere, the musicians sustain a series of tightly woven frameworks while also communicating a loose ...



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