Abe Ovadia: Living Life as Art

 

Abe Ovadia: Living Life As Art 
 
Anyone involved in the jazz scene at any level understands that each musician is probably separated by less than six degrees. Quite frankly, if you’ve played with even one established jazz musician in the last 10 years, you’re probably socially connected to every other jazz musician in the world on some level. Given this, I suppose it was inevitable that I would encounter Abe Ovadia at some point. In addition to the fact that we are both guitar players, we also share several other key things in common: ethnic ties, musical influences, and an existential commitment to putting art into our lives as opposed to simply putting it into our work. Honestly, I consider Abe Ovadia to be a kindred spirit in a world that hasn’t always felt safe for me socially. For this reason alone, I am proud to call Abe Ovadia a friend and am humbled by the opportunity to share his music with the world.
 
Originally a graduate of Berklee College of Music, Ovadia went on to earn his master’s degree in jazz performance at New York University, where he participated in one of the city’s most prestigious programs. During that time-period Ovadia was lucky enough to study under a number of jazz giants including Chris Potter, Peter Bernstein, and Jean-Michel Pilc. In recent years, Ovadia has been primarily devoted to pursuing his craft within the context of the classic guitar/organ/drum trio format.  His most recent album, "Three By Three” is a collection of original compositions that also feature organist Anthony Pocetti and drummer Jarrett Walser as his back-up group. This effort represents the unceasing trajectory of a player clearly headed toward establishing a stylistic demarcation point in respect to his peers. Of course, like most players of his generation, one can clearly hear the remnants of the “Kurt Rosenwinkel influence” that so often delineates today’s modern jazz guitarists. Despite this, Ovadia’s most singular moments take shape in the execution of distinctive spacial lines that occasionally harken back to the traditional melodies found within the confines of his own Sephardic heritage. Another distinguishing feature of Ovadia’s sound is his tone, which can be described as a wet “slapback” style. It’s obvious that Ovadia has gone to great lengths meticulously crafting a personalized sound but music isn’t the only area of his life in which he exibits this approach. 
 
By day, Ovadia runs Master Strap, a company that produces a line of high quality guitar straps at a modest price.  When asked what spawned the idea to start the company, Ovadia stated that, “Jazz performing mostly takes place at night, so I wanted to do something where I could set my schedule. If I need to take time off to record or tour, I’m able to do that as well. Actually, It started off as an idea to make a strap with a pick pocket on the leather ends. I wanted it to be something high quality that people could afford. Right now, I’m actually working on making custom drumsticks and saxophone straps for high school marching bands.” Since the genesis of the company, Ovadia has taken the product to trade shows across the country and has even seen prestigious performers like Pat Martino, Mark Whitfield, and Peter Bernstein use Master Straps in live performances. 
 
Luckily, the success of the Master Straps product line has not slowed Ovadia’s performance career down one bit. In fact, Ovadia has scheduled forthcoming dates at three of New York City’s most prestigious jazz clubs: The Iridium, The Bar Next Door, and the legendary Blue Note. I like to keep New York as my home base because the jazz scene is incomparable to anywhere else. There is no better feeling than playing my music at a club in the city” says Ovadia. Most noteworthy of the three upcoming performances is perhaps his date at the Iridium which features one of New York City’s most prolific drummers, Ari Hoeing. Along with Hoeing and friends, Ovadia has charged himself  with the monumental task of interpreting some of John Coltrane’s lesser known compositions from records like "Meditations", "Africa Brass", and "Ole." “I want to introduce the audience to the lesser known aesthetic of Coltrane’s music. Coltrane's music has shaped many of my spiritual experiences through exploring these records: Feelings of unconditional joy and bliss; happy to be breathing & alive” says Ovadia in his typically unassuming way.
 
Abe Ovadia’s selected upcoming NYC performances.
*For all forthcoming dates. Please see: http://www.abeovadia.com
 
03.24.15/ Sets at 8:30 PM & 10:30 PM
New York, NY US
 
ABE OVADIA PLAYS JOHN COLTRANE
 
Abe Ovadia - Guitar
Max Marshall - Piano
Michael Feinberg - Bass
Ari Hoenig - Drums
 
 
04.14.15/ Sets at 8:30 & 10:30 PM
New York, NY US
 
ABE OVADIA TRIO
 
Abe Ovadia - Guitar
Michael Feinberg - Bass
Rodney Green - Drums
 
 
05.30.15/ Saturday Night: 12:30 AM
New York, NY US
 
ABE OVADIA ORGAN TRIO
 
Abe Ovada - Guitar
Anthony Pocetti - Organ
Jarrett Walser - Drums