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.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.