Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

154

Omer Avital Group: Asking No Permission

By

Sign in to view read count
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 its configuration—bass, drums, no piano and four saxophones (three of them tenors)—and its personnel of young players, all of whom continue to be vital presences in the New York improv scene: drummer Ali Jackson, tenormen Mark Turner, Gregory Tardy, Charles Owens, and altoist Myron Walden. None of them shows any sign of callowness or immaturity; they all sound imaginative, technically proficient and utterly like themselves. Any awkward public development on any of their parts must have happened before this gig.

They also sound gloriously well-rehearsed—the collective sax heads on long pieces like "Know What I Mean? and "12 Tribes display a sweetness of voicing and plenty of Avital's compositional melodicism, but they're also flawlessly executed. Avital and Jackson are likewise fused. Their metric shifts under Owens, Tardy and a round-robin Walden/Turner solo duet on "12 Tribes seem downright telepathic as they maintain momentum and tension, even when playing a hair's breadth above silence.

The pieces are all Avital's, with the exception of a bluesy, slow-swing cover of "Lullaby of the Leaves, which is, of course, associated with Gerry Mulligan's equally piano-less original quartet with Chet Baker. It's a good fit with Avital's tunes, which offer a similarly timeless airiness and bathos-free romanticism. "Kentucky Girl has a simple, almost countrified horn theme but Avital's somber bass melodies and Jackson's restless, surging drums underpin it with a subtly tense menace. Tardy contributes a long, modal solo on this song that ranks with his best work to date—while the group has plenty of horns, here and elsewhere the band's essentially performing in trio formation during solo segments, with occasional deftly-placed written horn accents to undercut any notion that this is a jam session.

Best of all is "Devil Head, with its intro of Avital's bass darting and springing between the notes of its theme, articulated by rich-textured saxophones and Tardy's flute before Turner delivers a magnificently stately solo over a quicksand of mixed-meter bass and cymbals.

Avital's never been the most prolifically documented musician—this CD is his first release since the 2001 Fresh Sound New Talent album Think With Your Heart—and the absence of late of recorded Avital product makes Asking No Permission that much more valuable. All that's missing is the leader's trademark look of ecstatic joy as he performs.


Track Listing: Know What I Mean?!; Lullaby of the Leaves; Ballad; Devil Head; 12 Tribes; Kentucky Girl; The Field.

Personnel: Omer Avital: bass; Ali Jackson: drums; Mark Turner: tenor saxophone; Gregory Tardy: tenor saxophone, flute; Myron Walden: alto saxophone; Charles Owens: tenor saxophone.

Title: Asking No Permission | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Smalls Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Acknowledgement CD/LP/Track Review Acknowledgement
by Don Phipps
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Lessons And Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review Lessons And Fairytales
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Child in Me CD/LP/Track Review The Child in Me
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Way Home CD/LP/Track Review The Way Home
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Shadow Work CD/LP/Track Review Shadow Work
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Veterans of Jazz CD/LP/Track Review Veterans of Jazz
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read "The Tenth Muse" CD/LP/Track Review The Tenth Muse
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 7, 2017
Read "Towards Language" CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "Runnin' for the Ghost" CD/LP/Track Review Runnin' for the Ghost
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 1, 2017
Read "On Parade In Parede" CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "Sooner And Later" CD/LP/Track Review Sooner And Later
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 4, 2017
Read "Seasons 1-4 Live" CD/LP/Track Review Seasons 1-4 Live
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: January 6, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor