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Avi Bortnick is an American guitarist who became more widely known after his association with jazz guitarist John Scofield. Bortnick joined Scofield's jam-oriented band in 2000, and played rhythm guitar and samples on three records: Überjam, Up All Night, and Überjam Deux.
Born in Israel, Bortnick was raised in St. Louis, Missouri, where he attended racially integrated public schools and was immersed in the sounds of late 1970s funk, rock and soul. After moving to California in 1983, Bortnick began to play with various African and Caribbean bands. Later, as a graduate student at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Bortnick started the band "What It Is", which became popular in the South East touring circuit, though the band was never signed to a major label.
Bortnick became known as a strong rhythm guitar player, and came to John Scofield's attention when putting a band together to support his Verve release, Bump. A five-month tour extended to 4½ years. In 2003, Avi released his solo CD Clean Slate with 12 original songs.
Since 2003, Bortnick resides in New York City, playing with various bands, including Cornpone, Avi B Three, Shitty Shitty Jam Band (with members of Verve recording artists The Brazilian Girls), Rene Lopez, Jihae, Erik Deutsch, and Betty Black and the Ghost Train Orchestra.
- 2003: Clean Slate (AXB, 2003)
With John Scofield
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