The ‘plucky genius’, mandolin player Avi Avital is no stranger to Sydney after two popular tours with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra.
Avi Avital has now joined forces with his namesake, jazz bassist Omer Avital to record Avital Meets Avital, a cross-genre recording for Deutsch Grammophon, released earlier this month, where the classics meet jazz, the traditional meets the modern and East meets West.
“The basic idea behind this album was the collaboration of two artists, one who focuses mainly on classical music while the other is primarily at home in jazz” says Avi Avital describing Avital Meets Avital. Eight of the Nine tracks were composed and arranged by Omer and Avi Avital. The final track, was written by Polish-Israeli composer, Moshe Vilenski. Oriental melodies clash with North African rhythms and swinging jazz improvisations with classical mandolin playing in this musical journey which reaches far back to their roots, preserving the legacy of their shared culture while giving it a wholly new and modern guise.
Whilst playing music that is opposite in style, both musicians have a great deal in common. Both were born and raised by Moroccan parents in Israel and both attended the same music academy in Jerusalem, where Omer studied jazz and Avi the classical tradition.
Israeli mandolin player Avi Avital is one of the most accomplished and best-known masters of his instrument. He is celebrated by fans and media all over the world for his thrilling renditions of klezmer tunes, baroque compositions and his great love, contemporary art music. In 2010 he was the world’s first mandolinist to be nominated for a Grammy® Award. His namesake and decades-long friend, the New York-based composer and bass player Omer Avital, is one of the most adventurous and visionary minds in contemporary jazz.
Avital Meets Avital covers a spectrum of lively dance-floor tunes, melancholy ballads, classically sculpted motifs and forms, improvisation, western jazz harmony, Moroccan beats, lyrical melodies and lilting rhythms.