Omer Klein Trio: A Mediterranean Medley

With his knack for composing unique narratives and his flawless harmonic precision, Omer Klein really comes into his own in trios.

By Max Dembo | Video of the Day | March 3, 2019

Klein's jazz is usually intertwined with traditional folk music, as is often the case for Israeli jazz musicians. The Germany-based pianist slides from melancholic sonorities towards swinging grooves. This former student of Danilo Perez and John Zorn signs off here on a kind of love letter to the Mediterranean with the aptly named Radio Mediteran. With the help of his faithful rhythmic section composed of Haggai Cohen Milo on double bass and Amir Bresler on drums, he submerges his compositions in sounds from Tunisia, Bulgaria, Turkey, the Middle East, Libya, Morocco and other Mediterranean countries. “My band and I have a very personal connection to the Mediterranean Sea, as we all grew up close to it. After a concert, Haggai, Amir and I often listen to music together in the hotel. During our “Sleepwalkers” tour I noticed that most of the music we were playing to each other was from North Africa, the Balkans or the Arab world. This realisation was the starting point for Radio Mediteran. ”

Straying off the beaten track, Radio Mediteran is no folkloric album. “I didn't want to copy the music. Instead we tried to absorb it and give it a new, personal context in order to ultimately perhaps even create a new genre.” These three men have an extraordinary ability to demonstrate that there are more things that connect us than divide us. “This is my political message,” insists Omer Klein. “Our history shows that different cultures in the Mediterranean have positively influenced and enriched each other.” His trio even adds a pop element to its music with some analogue synthesizers and percussion. This generation of jazz musicians are constantly breaking down borders without ever totally cutting ties from their roots. With that philosophy in the back of his mind, Klein’s album proves a real success.


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