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has been one of fall's tightest albums, and "Need Your Love" is undoubtedly its centerpiece: an old-school jam that showcases Harding's powerful voice and some catchy grooves.
Synths anchor the retro-sounding song in the present, and there's nothing dated about Harding's sentiments.
Both works, compositions by Omer, exemplify his ability to write music that honors melodic folk traditions without feeling painfully pastiche.
The album’s pulse picks up with “Ana Maghrebi” and “Avi’s Song”, original tunes that showcase Avi and Omer as improvisers.
Avi and Omer perform as a duo on the closing track, “The Source and the Sea” by Moshe Vilenski, the album’s only non-original composition.
After the explorations and energy from the preceding eight works, this feels like a satisfying conclusion to the record, a solemn reading of a humble song that needs no added complications.
However, the closer one looks, the more they find connective musical tissue between the two.
Notably, Avi and Omer dedicated part of their careers expanding their respective repertoire with new compositions and commissions that explore their native Israeli musical roots in the context of contemporary classical and jazz.
True, the unusual yet dazzling pairing of mandolin and bass has seen traction in recent years with excellent recordings by Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer, as well as Jesse Jones and Craig Butterfield.
The harmonically static hypnotic groove builds underneath solos from Avi and Yonathan like meditations on the song’s modal trance.
With their improvisations, the two build intensity in concert with the rest of the group, both musicians developing a beautiful slow burn rather than an overt virtuosic tirade.
Avital Meets Avital is not an album that languishes in obvious and painful pastiche for the sake of commercial potential.
While Avi takes most of the melodies, the rest of the group deserves laude for keeping the musical landscape clear and effective, free of any modernist showboating or needless dissonance.Collaborating here with pianist Yonathan Avishai and percussionist Itamar Doari (with a brief appearance from accordionist Uli Sharlin), Avi and Omer have produced a recording that beautifully blends traditional Israeli folk influences with song structures and aesthetics not far removed from modern jazz and contemporary acoustic music.