EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

Omer Avital Qantar

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Last Show: Sunday 18 th November 2018

PizzaExpress Live (Holborn)

Omer Avital has been celebrated as “one of the most exciting musicians to come onto the jazz scene in the last 20 years” (Downbeat). He is a visionary composer and virtuoso musician, leading genre-defying ensembles are providing audiences around the world with swing and spiritual sustenance in equal measure. Avital’s compositions range from sophisticated jazz conversations to funky, Middle-Eastern grooves to long-form, orchestral arrangements of traditional Sephardi music. Qantar is Avital’s dream quintet.

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Since forming in 2016, the improvisations they created around his compositions jelled in an immediate and uncanny way, as if the musicians were traveling along the same tightrope, aloft and daring, with an incredible solidarity held together by a bond that went far beyond performing the notes and letting go in the solos. That bond seems to have been formed from their individual careers criss-crossing so many times since leaving Israel. Indeed, all are Israeli expatriates, all living in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, all then hanging out at Omer’s sharing dinner and Turkish coffee. There is a friendship these musician’s enjoy which definitely penetrates the performances. This shared history, even though years apart, imbued this quintet with the key to Avital’s music: his ability to bring the various rhythmic and harmonic vocabularies underpinning 20th and 21st century hardcore jazz expression and flow those with a polyphonic attitude and musical multilingualism.