"Clean Slate" is the debut CD release as a leader from guitarist/sample artist/composer/producer Avi Bortnick. Avi is best known for his musical association with jazz guitar legend John Scofield, whom he has toured with steadily since January of2000.
With Scofield, Avi has come to the forefront of the international music scene by performing hundreds of shows to packed houses and festival stages worldwide. Avi's signature funk rhythm guitar sound has become an identifiable trademark of the Scofield Band sound, and Avi has been featured prominently on two Scofield Verve CD's, "Uberjam", and "Up All Night". Avi composed material for both albums, and is also credited as co-producer on "Up All Night".
Now Avi steps out on his own with his brand new self-produced CD called "Clean Slate". Drawing upon years of diverse musical experiences, including the Scofield Band, African ensembles, Brazilian bands, jazz groups, and the underground funk sensation "What It Is", Avi creates a sonic landscape of appealing rhythmic textures and intoxicating moods on "Clean Slate".
Throughout the CD the musical emphasis is clearly on two qualities: GROOVE and FUN. Many listeners have already responded to the CD by saying that the music is "just plain fun" to listen to. Without sacrificing musical substance, Avi has succeeded in creating intelligent music that also feels good.
That good feeling was generated by a conscious effort Avi made to feature a high level of musicianship from both himself and his musical compatriots and also by a firm commitment to the rhythmic aspect of the songs in an interesting, accurate, and appropriate way for each particular composition.
In addition to the incredibly funky and grooving instrumental rock compositions on the CD, there is an element of humor on "Clean Slate". For example, on the tune "Anybody Got an Aspirin?", Avi began by sampling an actual telemarketer's message that was left on his home answering machine (which turns unintentionally and inadvertently hilarious); he then added an infectious guitar groove, and spiced up the mix with a retro organ sound. The overall result is a simple and fun tune that actually has hit potential written all over it.
Guitar fans in particular will be ecstatic to hear the versatility in Avi's playing on "Clean Slate". This is the first real opportunity Avi's growing legion of fans have had to hear the essence of his musicianship on record. While Avi's reputation has primarily been based on the fact that he is one of the world's funkiest rhythm guitarists, on "Clean Slate" listeners get to hear Avi's unique perspective on the potential of the guitar in many different areas of playing, and in much greater depth.
An aspect of music in which Avi excels, both in the Scofield Band and on "Clean Slate", is in the arena of sound. An incredible amount of attention to detail went into the making of "Clean Slate" in terms of sampling, digital sequencing and use of synthesizers, instrumentation choices, effects, and overall production techniques. A lot of care and effort was taken with the intention of serving each tune's particular needs in the best possible way.
Joining Avi on "Clean Slate" are keyboardists Michael Bluestein (Boz Scaggs, Will Bernard) and Dan Eisenberg (Ryan Adams, Shelby Lynne), and drummers Jim Bogius, (Sheryl Crowe, Ben Folds, Counting Crows), Aaron Johnston (Harry Belafonte, Thalia), Scott Amendola (Charlie Hunter, Nels Cline) and other San Francisco-based musicians.
Avi has recently been featured in several major national music publications such as Guitar Player, Down Beat, and Sound On Sound. In addition to playing in Scofield's Band, he has also performed or recorded with What It Is, Bobby McFerrin, Kotoja, Andy Narell, Jeff Narell and new keyboard sensation Harry Miller.
Avi was born in Israel and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He started college in Madison, Wisconsin, later entering a masters degree program at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Prior to joining John Scofield's band,Avi worked as a professional acoustical consultant (when he was not performing music, that is). He currently splits his time between New York and San Francisco when not on the road.
Please check out Avi's website for performance updates and news at:
Also check out another CD here at CDBaby.com that Avi plays on - it's by keyboardist Harry Miller, and its called "Jazz Beauty Supply":