third world love 88.
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Third World Love is a quartet of jazz musicians intent on making music, almost any kind of music, as long as it feels good. The foursome in question are three Israelis and one Jewish American, none of whom live here but make frequent visits to spread their musical message and feel-good vibe.
This week they start a two-week tour of Israel (August 15-26) with their third album, Sketch of Tel Aviv, fresh off the CD presses. Bassist Omer Avital says he is delighted to be back in town, particularly in these trying times. "Yes, spreading love is not exactly a new message but we hope to bring some joy to people in these dark days."
Judging by the new recording he, along with compatriot ex-pats trumpeter Avishai Cohen and pianist Yonatan Avishai, and American drummer Daniel Freedman should be able to get their positive vibes across to their Israeli audiences, and then some.
Sketch of Tel Aviv encompasses so many genres and feeds off so many cultural sources it is sure to have across-the-board appeal. Take, for example, the title track written by pianist Avishai.
"Sketch of Tel Aviv" which starts with a loping klezmer intro, progresses to something akin to a silent-movie piano accompaniment, and heads off into bluesy terrain before the mix explodes into a high-energy rock esthetic, complete with electronic effects. The rest of the number wends its way through soft balladic jazzy sentiments, insouciant Latinesque statements and the odd phrase or two that come straight out of the shtetl. The foursome even enlisted the help of soft rock-pop star Evyatar Banai, who lends his instantly recognizable vocals to one of the tracks.
"It was just a matter of going with the flow," says Avital. "It's not premeditated. Yonatan [Avishai] wrote 'Sketch of Tel Aviv.' He's very theatrical and I think the piece reflects that. I think there's also something about Israel and Tel Aviv that has that fusion of all those cultures. Don't forget, Third World Love is nobody's band; there's no leader. So it's easy just to go with the flow."
I wonder whether the fact that they all live outside Israel - three in New York and one, Avishai, in France - provides a more balanced perspective on life in this part of the world. "Yes. I think that's true," Avital surmises. "I've been back in New York for a year (after four years in Israel following an initial 12-year sojourn in New York). In a way it is easier and more comfortable to be there, although I do miss Israel."
The latter is also a gastronomic point. A couple or so years ago Avital claimed that one of his reasons for coming back to Israel was simply because he couldn't find any decent humus in the Big Apple. However, he appears to have solved that problem.
"I just finished recording a new [jazz] album, and straight after we finished at the studio I had a hankering for some good humus. So I went home and made some myself. It came out pretty well."
Third Word Love will play at the Zappa Club in Tel Aviv on August 15 and 16, Kibbutz Beit Keshet (August 18), Hama'abada in Jerusalem on August 19, Levontin 7 in Tel Aviv on August 22, Shuni Castle in Binyamina - with high-energy world music band Boom Pam - on August 25, and close back at Zappa on August 26, when Evyatar Banai will put in a guest appearance.