Written by Patrick Jarenwattananon from WBGO-FM
Bassist Omer Avital came from Israel to New York in the early ’90s and found himself among the top tier of straight-ahead modern jazz performers. The time in the big city led him to re-investigate his roots — his parents are from the Arab-speaking world — and in 2002, he returned to Israel to study traditional music and oud. Since returning, he’s remained a monster bass player, but has also integrated his Middle Eastern musical interests into his composing. The results can be heard on his Suite of the East recording, made in 2006 but released this year; the Band of the East performs here.
From the 92Y Tribeca in downtown New York City — back up and running after Hurricane Sandy — Omer Avital’s Band of the East followed Greg Tardy’s quintet in a double bill, part of the WBGO concert series The Checkout: Live. For the full concert archive of this series, visit npr.org/checkoutlive.
All compositions by Omer Avital.
Producer and Host: Josh Jackson; Audio Engineer: David Tallacksen; Production Assistant: Michael Downes; Video Director: Stew Nachmias. Recorded Nov. 7, 2012 at 92Y Tribeca in New York, N.Y.