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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more