Omer Avital

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Omer Avital
Birth name Omer Avital
Born 1971 (age 42–43)
Giv'atayim, Israel
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Bassist, composer, bandleader
Instruments Double bass, oud
Years active 1992–present

Omer Avital (born 1971, Giv'atayim, Israel) in is an Israeli jazz bassist, composer and bandleader.[1]

Early life[edit]

Avital was born in the small town of Giv'atayim to Moroccan and Yemeni parents.[2] At age 11, he began his formal training, studying Classical Guitar at the Giv'atayim Conservatory. Upon entering Talma Yalin, Israel's leading High School for the Arts, Avital switched to the acoustic bass and began studying and arranging jazz. 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.[3] After spending a year in the Israeli Army Orchestra, he moved to New York in 1992 where he began playing, recording and touring professionally.[4]


Upon his arrival to New York in 1992, Avital began playing in groups with Roy Haynes, Jimmy Cobb, Nat Adderley, Walter Bishop, Jr., Al Foster, Kenny Garrett, Steve Grossman, Jimmy Lovelace, and Rashied Ali. In 1994, he began collaborating with pianist Jason Lindner, with whom Avital began leading his own groups and big band during the after-hours sessions at Smalls Jazz Club in Greenwich Village.[5] In 1995 and 1996, Omer Avital made an impact on the New York jazz scene with a series of breakout piano-less groups at the original Smalls jazz club, including a classic sextet with four saxophones, bass and drums. He was the subject of frequent features in the New York Times. A number of these sessions were recorded privately by Luke Kaven, future founder of Smalls Records. 1997 saw the release of an Impulse! Records compilation entitled Jazz Underground: Live at Smalls, which featured several recordings of Avital's quartet. He signed to record his debut album Devil Head the following year, but it was never issued. Following the release of his debut album, Think With Your Heart, in 2002, Avital returned the following year to Israel, where for 3 years he studied classical composition, Arabic musical theory, Oud and traditional Israeli music. Avital returned to New York in 2005 and released three albums the following year, including two from the Smalls Records archives, as well as a fourth with the group Third World Love. In 2006, Avital's record "Asking No Permission," from the Smalls Records archives, was named to many best ten lists, heralding his return to the New York scene. "So we weren't crazy," wrote Ben Ratliff in the New York Times, "finally, here's proof that Omer Avital's sextet, which played at Smalls to a small but deep following in the late 90's, really was good." In 2008, Avital was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award, the most prestigious distinction for artists in Israel. 2012 saw the release of two albums, one with Aaron Goldberg and Ali Jackson, Jr. as Yes! Trio and another, Suite Of the East, which was met with critical acclaim and was named Best Album of 2012 by TSF Jazz.[6] Avital tours with many projects, including the Band Of The East, a group evolved from Suite of The East and citing influences from North African and Middle Eastern music. The group consists of Gregory Tardy, Jason Lindner, Daniel Freedman and the young guitarist Nadav Remez.

His newest album, New Song, will be released in the U.S. November 4th, 2014, on Motema Music. The project features Avishai Cohen on trumpet, Joel Frahm on saxophone, Yonathan Avishai on piano, and Daniel Freedman on drums.


  • New Song (2014)
  • Suite Of The East (2012)
  • Live at Smalls (2011)
  • Free Forever (2011)
  • Room To Grow (2007)
  • Arrival (2006)
  • The Ancient Art Of Giving (2006)
  • Asking No Permission (2006)
  • Think With Your Heart (2001)

Discography as a co-leader, arranger, producer or sideman[edit]

With Third World Love
  • Songs and Portraits (2012)
  • New Blues (2008)
  • Sketch of Tel Aviv (2006)
  • Avanim (2004)
  • Third World Love Songs (2002)
With Yes! Trio (Aaron Goldberg and Ali Jackson, Jr.)
  • Yes! (2012)
With New Jerusalem Orchestra
  • Ahavat Olamim (2011)
With Yemen Blues
  • Yemen Blues (2011)
With Debka Fantasia
  • Debka Fantasia (2009)
With Anat Cohen
  • Notes From The Village (2008)
  • Poetica (2007)
With Marlon Browden
  • The Omer Avital Marlon Browden Project (2005)
With OAM Trio (Aaron Goldberg and Marc Miralta)
  • Now & Here (2005)
  • Live in Sevilla (With Mark Turner) (2003)
  • Flow (2002)
  • Trilingual (1999)
With Avishai Cohen
  • Triveni II (2012)
  • Introducing Triveni (2010)
  • After The Big Rain (2007)
With Claudia Acuña
  • En Este Momento (2009)
With Omer Klein
  • Introducing Omer Klein (2008)
With 3 Cohens (Anat, Avishai and Yuval Cohen)
  • Braid (2007)
With Jason Lindner
  • Live at the Jazz Gallery (2007)
  • Ab Aeterno (2006)
  • Live/UK (2004)
  • Premonition (2000)
With Daniel Freedman
  • Daniel Freedman Trio (2002)
With Rashied Ali
  • At The Vision Festival (1999)
With Antonio Hart
  • For Cannonball & Woody (1993)


  1. ^ "Omer Avital - MusicBrainz". MusicBrainz. Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  2. ^ Fabian, Monika (2012-07-03). "Gig Alert: Omer Avital - Soundcheck". WNYC. Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  3. ^ "Smalls Records Artist - Omer Avital". Smalls Records. Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  4. ^ "About Omer Avital". Abutbul Music. Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  5. ^ "Omer Avital". Allmusic. Retrieved 2013-01-27. 
  6. ^ "Les Lundis du Duc". TSF Jazz. Retrieved 2013-01-27.