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"Klein has the potential to achieve something much rarer for a jazz musician: popularity. What he plays is exotic yet accessible and makes you feel fully alive."
- JAZZ TIMES
"Omer Klein pushes mainstream-jazz concepts into the future"
- TIME OUT NEW YORK
Pianist and composer Omer Klein is gaining international recognition for his performances and recordings, as a band leader and a sideman. At 26, he is the newest force in the Israeli – New York City Jazz movement. In a review of his recent CD, The Village Voice praised his originality: "on the new 'Introducing Omer Klein', he indicates that he's arrived without echoing any of the masters - an accomplishment these days". All About Jazz noted his "tumultuous lyricism", while Jazz Times described his compositions as "folk songs for the melting pot of the new millennium, with strong Middle Eastern and African elements". Klein is performing extensively worldwide; Aside from leading his own group, he has worked with Jazz artists such as Omer Avital, Anat Cohen, Joel Frahm and Meshell Ndgeocello, and collaborated with Israeli music icons like Yehudit Ravitz and Alon Oleartchik.
'Introducing Omer Klein', his debut CD as a leader, was released in February 2008 on Smalls Records, and received raving reviews. The album is comprised of 10 original compositions by Klein, featuring improvisations by his world-class ensemble: Omer Avital on bass and oud, Ziv Ravitz on drums and Itamar Doari on percussion. Later this year, Klein was commissioned by the America Israel Cultural Foundation to write a piece incorporating his jazz trio with a string quartet. The piece, entitled 'Septet', was premiered at New York's Merkin Concert Hall. The performance received a sweeping standing ovation and 'Septet' was programmed for a concert at 'Jazz at Lincoln Center'.
Through out 2008, Omer is performing his music in various NYC venues. In the summer he had toured Israel with his group and gave solo piano concerts in the UK, and in the fall he will go into the studio to record his next album. Other events this year include a tour in Italy with Omer Avital's quintet, duo concerts in Holland with bassist Haggai Cohen Milo, and the release of a new CD by Mura, the Israeli rock band of which Klein is a member. Klein is also exploring collaborations with artists from different fields. A new film, 'Enemigos Intimos', by Mexican director Fernando Sarinana, features two of his compositions, and he contributed a composition for the interactive work UR Here, by the NYC-based Artichoke Dance group.
In 2007 Klein released 'Duet', a co-led CD with Haggai Cohen Milo, on the Spanish label Fresh Sound New Talent. The duo toured Belgium and performed in Spain, Israel and the US. On their concert at the Getxo Festival, the Spanish 'Gara' wrote "Freshness of discourse and fluid technique… they walked a path open at all times to discovery and surprise". Downbeat magazine described the album as "A mouthwatering glimpse of burgeoning talent". Also in this year, Klein toured Israel with the Omer Avital Trio, and gave a rare solo piano concert of songs by Israeli composer Matti Caspi. He gave US performances with artists like Eli Degibri, Ben Street, Johnathan Blake, Donny McCaslyn and others.
Omer Klein has performed at the Getxo, Jazz Winter, Duke Ellington, Red Sea, Jazz Masters, Zsambek, Veviers, Plaza de Las Artes CNA, and Israel Festivals. As a major young force in the creative music scene in New York, he has performed in the city's most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Iridium, Jazz Standard, Smalls, Joe's Pub, The Jazz Gallery, Knitting Factory and others. An original musical thinker who combines the analytical with the intuitive, Klein has received great acclaim as an educator. He instructed ensembles at the New England Conservatory of Music and the Thelma Yellin High School, and gave master classes at the Maastricht Conservatory in Holland, the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, and the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music.
Klein's awards include the first prize at the Jazz Hoilaart Contest in Belgium, first prize at the International Chamber Music Competition of New England, Ascaplus award, Downbeat student music award, and second prize at the Heinrich Heine Composition Contest in Tel Aviv. His live performances were broadcasted by National Public Radio's Sound Check, KALW's West Coast Live, Israel's Voice of Music and GLZ Radio, to name a few.
Omer Klein was born in Netanya, Israel in 1982. He graduated from the prestigious Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts, and was acknowledged by Israel's Ministry of Culture as an "Outstanding Musician". He studied at the New England Conservatory in Boston with Danilo Perez, Ran Blake, Alexander Korsantie, George Garzone and Jerry Bergonzi.