omer avital /
the ancient art of giving

1 Homeland
2 Night Song
3 Ras Abu Galum (for Elvin Jones)
4 Arrival
5 Shimi's Tune
6 Bass Introduction
7 Yes!

Total time: 58:09


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Omer Avital(bass), Mark Turner (tenor sax), Avishai Cohen (trumpet), Aaron Goldberg (piano), Ali Jackson(drums); recorded 1/14/06 live at Fat Cat, NYC

All compositions by Omer Avital (Abutbul Music)

Producer: Omer Avital, Luke Kaven
Engineering: Paul Cox, Luke Kaven

Mixing, Mastering: Michael Perez-Cisneros
Rear Photo: Haim Yafim



This disk is a part of Smalls Records’ ongoing presentation of Omer Avital’s works, past and present. Here we feature some of his present work. But Avital is prolific, and it will require more than one release to catch up on his varied projects.

So—here are some of the best players of this generation together in one group. And it’s no accident either. This is no gimmicky ‘all-star’ record where a bunch of big names are thrown together for the first time to make a record. The musicians in Omer Avital’s quintet have been down a long road together, and after more than ten years collaborating in diverse and overlapping combinations, they’ve made a significant mark on modern music both individually and collectively. We’ve had a number of those groups at Smalls over the years, and had the privilege of hearing some of these developments take place. All present here are of course famous bandleaders in their own right who really need no introduction at this point. All present have appeared in earlier Omer Avital groups. Mark Turner and Ali Jackson were original members of the seminal Omer Avital Sextet (and both are featured on the Smalls Records CD Asking No Permission / SRCD-0011). Turner and Avital both appeared in the Jason Lindner Big Band (as well as other Jason Lindner projects) together. Avital and Avishai Cohen go back many years. Both performed with Charles Owens in Owens’ long-running Friday night feature at Smalls. Both are principals of the Third World Love band (whose American debut is being released through Smalls Records this month). Omer Avital and Aaron Goldberg are, respectively, the “O” and the “A” in the long-standing OAM Trio, which also includes Spanish drummer and notable “M”, Marc Miralta.

Here Avital puts forth seven originals, and they are nicely programmed here like separate movements of an extended piece. As with much of Avital’s work, there is a sense of dramatic sweep, and an episodic structure. The tunes have graceful introductions, and run from wistful melodies to red hot refrains. There are lots of hooks for improvisation, and everybody gives his all. The overall feel is balanced, and it has the drive of a classic acoustic jazz quintet. The tone is optimistic, but it is a knowing optimism. It is in keeping with the enigmatic title. The ancient art of giving is an idea that is manifest in the simple act of offering tea. Or it is in taming the desert to yield a bountiful harvest, and then sharing that harvest with your neighbor. It is both live giving and life affirming.

Luke Kaven
June 2006


I would like to give thanks to Aaron, Ali, Avishai, and Mark for their passionate and truthful musical contributions on this CD; to Mitch Borden for his continuous support of this music; to Luke Kaven for his faith and love of our music; to Paul Cox for the serious work he put into capturing the sounds; to Mike Perez-Cisneros for the dedicated ears, and heart in mixing the CD; and to Shimi Shemtov for the insight.

Thanks to my beloved wife and best friend, Liat, for being my partner in this ever-changing journey. Thanks to my parents, Dalia and Eli for being the soul behind it all, to my sister Sharon for the love and hard work, and to my brother Avi and his family. Thanks to Avital, Iftach, Gilad, and Ynon for the inspiration, and to the Yemini and Yadid families for their love and poetry.

Special thanks to Anat Cohen and Colin Negrych for their incredible support and appreciation, which helped to make our return to New York a pleasant experience.

Thanks to ALL my friends, wherever you are.

The producer would like to give thanks to Debbie Millman, Yutaka Matsumoto, Tom Currier, Marcy Granata, and Jeff Brown for helping to make this production possible.