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Omer Avital: The Ancient Art of Giving

Jim Santella By

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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 walk and a powerful foundation. Reliable at the bottom of the quintet's structure, he propels with a veteran's touch.

The Israeli-born Avital can just as well call New York home. He's been back and forth, teaching, composing, performing, and letting the geographical setting influence his art. His extended bass solo on "Ras Abu-Galum swings with a timeless, melodic, physically driving swing. It's the longest piece on the album, as well as the session's high point. With this one selection, Avital has tied together a multitude of themes that span the globe and a century of jazz.

Arrival stands out for its hip attitude, while "Yes! swings comfortably through shades of New York nights and all of their allure. Both compositions give the quintet plenty of space for musical release; trumpet and tenor float gracefully over a thrilling rhythmic foundation.

Avital's quintet offers themes from around the world and brings them home to stay on The Ancient Art of Giving.

Track Listing: Homeland; Night Song; Ras Abu-Galum; Arrival; Shimi

Personnel: Omer Avital: bass; Mark Turner: tenor saxophone; Avishai Cohen: trumpet; Aaron Goldberg: piano; Ali Jackson: drums.

Title: The Ancient Art of Giving | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Smalls Records

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