165

Omer Avital Group: Room to Grow

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
Omer Avital Group: Room to Grow 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 choir and turn in impressive solo work, the design is valid. Besides, it gives the bassist/leader plenty of time to step out in front and show his love for moody blues, warm melodies and the family tradition of caressing a theme instead of pushing it too hard. His bass interpretations tread softly on undercrowded urban sidewalks that harbor no reason for haste. Along the way, he's able to stop and smell the aroma that comes from his musical neighborhood of eclectic sources.

Throughout this session, Myron Walden's alto comes on strong as the voice with a squawk and a squeal; he's got a lot to say and enjoys doing so with unbridled passion. Avital's big, booming bass contrasts with his suave demeanor, which remains quiet and stable. Each of the other three saxophonists, known veterans who've never been at a loss for ideas, contributes plenty. None of the others prefer to shriek like Walden, a factor that balances the night's performance admirably.

John Coltrane's "26-2 begins with a saxophone choir and flute, pursuing Bach-like counterpoint that reaches way back to earlier forms of music. Avital follows with a searing bass statement that includes double stops and cascades of rhythm designed to kick off the song's familiar tempo and mood. He then alternates with the saxophone choir to deliver solemn statements that groove soulfully and provide emotional impetus for his group of expressive artists. Together, they pay homage to the master and blaze trails of their own with enlightened spirits fired by passion for the music.


Track Listing: Kentucky Girl; Its Alright With Me; 26-2.

Personnel: Omer Avital: bass; Gregory Tardy: tenor saxophone, clarinet, flute; Myron Walden: alto saxophone; Grant Stewart, Charles Owens: tenor saxophone; Joe Strasser: drums.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Smalls Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Seaside" CD/LP/Track Review Seaside
by John Eyles
Published: January 30, 2017
Read "The Intergalactic Thing" CD/LP/Track Review The Intergalactic Thing
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 1, 2016
Read "Whirlwind" CD/LP/Track Review Whirlwind
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: May 24, 2016
Read "Negative Spaces" CD/LP/Track Review Negative Spaces
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 20, 2016
Read "Nine Thoughts For One Word" CD/LP/Track Review Nine Thoughts For One Word
by John Ephland
Published: October 1, 2016
Read "Alameda Gardens" CD/LP/Track Review Alameda Gardens
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 22, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!