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Omer Avital

"New Song"


After being blown away by the wondrous music of Omer Avital at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, I had to check out "New Song" to see if the energy of the group's live performance could translate to a recording. This joyous album overwhelmingly proves that it can. With Avital on bass; Yonathan Avishai, piano; Joel Frahm, saxophone, and Daniel Freedman, drums, it's almost the same lineup as Avital's great jazz festival band. The only difference is the crisp trumpet of Avishai Cohen instead of a second sax, but there is no difference in the exuberant sound.

Avital's oeuvre is an extraordinarily successful example of what can happen when jazz fuses with world music. Raised in Israel, with Yemenite and Moroccan parents, Avital has come up with an irresistible hybrid combining Arabic music, Sephardic Jewish melodies, ancient Andalusian music, and 1950's-era American jazz. Songs, with names like "Bedouin Roots," "Yemen Suite," and "New Middle East," work together beautifully as if they are movements of a single grand composition. The fast tunes are infectious, and the mid-tempo songs and ballads are nothing short of gorgeous. This is new music for a true global village.