omer avital  

"Trained first as a classical guitarist, he plays chords all over the neck and uses guitar techniques for strumming; the result is a passing hint of flamenco or blues. He can be fleet and jazz-melodic in the style of Oscar Pettiford, then buzz around the tonic like a devotional singer; he grew up in Tel Aviv, in a Moroccan-Yemenite family, and the Arabic and Spanish comes together with the blues in his music. Proper technique isn't all; he punches and twangs the strings, knocking fresh slang out of the bass. Outside Charles Mingus and the free-jazz bassist William Parker, such dramatic violence on the instrument is hard to come by."
-- The New York Times

Omer Avital was born in the small Israeli town of Givataim where his formal training began at age 11 when he entered the Givataim Conservatory to study Classical Guitar. It was upon entering Talma Yalin, Israel's leading High School for the Arts, that Mr. Avital's interest turned towards jazz. He switched his focus to the acoustic bass, and soon became the leader of the school's jazz ensemble for which he wrote all the arrangements. During his senior year, at the age of 17, he began playing professionally in various jazz, pop, and folk bands, as well as performing regularly on national television, radio, and in numerous jazz festivals.

After spending less then a year in the Israeli Army (playing in its orchestra), Omer made his way to New York City in search of a more promising jazz setting. His talent was instantly recognized and he quickly became a hotly sought after sideman – steadily performing, recording and touring with such Jazz legends as Roy Haynes, Jimmy Cobb, Nat Adderly, Walter Bishop, Al Foster, Kenny Garret, Steve Grossman, Frank Hewitt, Jimmy Lovelace, Rashied Ali, and more, as well as some of the great Jazz artists of his generation including Mark Turner, Aaron Goldberg, Joshua Redman, Jason Lindner, Jeff Ballard, Brad Mehldau, Antonio Hart, Claudia Acuna, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Peter Bernstein, Greg Tardy, Myron Walden, Larry Goldings, and Ali Jackson among others.

Avital’s primary interest and success has been as a composer, arranger and bandleader. In 1994 the now legendary Smalls jazz club opened in New York's Greenwich Village. The club’s visionary owner, Mitchell Borden, invited the city's young inspired jazz musicians, as well as some of the old masters of the art form, to share their musical explorations and create a fresh and inviting artistic environment. Since the opening night of Smalls, Avital had began playing at there steadily, both as a leader of his own band and in the legendary Monday night Big Band, led by pianist/composer/arranger Jason Lindner and featured many of the scene's greatest musicians. Avital had also performed regularly in the famous Friday night jam sessions with the great young drummer Ali Jackson.

Appears on Omer Avital / Asking No Permission