“...He got that sort of Didier Lockwood sound but really pushes it forward and playing in his own way. You can just really tell it’s him when he’s playing.” (Matt Holborn, The Jazz Violin Podcast)
“Dervishly moving violin”. (Fiona Ord-Shrimpton, All About Jazz)
Award-winning, NYC-based jazz violinist Omer Ashano is redefining jazz violin through improvisation and sound, crossing genres and styles while maintaining a unique and distinct instrumental voice.
Ashano’s musical influences are as cosmopolitan as he is, having grown up in several places including Amsterdam and various cities and villages in Israel. As a result of these experiences and engaging with different people throughout his travels in Europe, North America and the far East, Ashano was constantly influenced by a variety of cultural inspirations and local communities. This helped shape his eclectic musical identity, which holds traces of Israeli music, African-american music, Classical music as well as folklore music from Africa, Romania and India.
Now 26, Ashano started playing violin when he was six years old, later taking up the guitar at age 13. At the time, his guitar teachers were the influencers who exposed Omer to the styles of Blues, Rock n’ Roll and Jazz as well as the ideas and possibilities surrounding improvisation. It was from this exposure that Omer started experimenting with this new knowledge and adapting it for the violin.
Throughout the years Ashano has deepened his knowledge and passion of improvisation in jazz and other genres of music. In addition to his classical and jazz education, he immersed himself in Indian music while learning to play the Sitar and the Tabla. In the following years he went on to receive several awards and scholarships from different internationally-recognized institutions, among them the America-Israel Cultural Foundation grant for outstanding jazz performers which he received in 2014.
In 2016 Ashano moved to New York City to complete his academic studies at The New School for Jazz and to pursue his musical career in the city. Ashano quickly immersed himself in the local jazz community and is now a renowned violinist in the NYC music scene, as well as an acclaimed composer and musical producer. While continuing to record and perform internationally with the Israeli folk/rock band OSOG, of which Ashano has been an active member of years, and different bands and artists in the Jazz, Rock, Folk and World Music scenes, 2019 marked a fruitful year in Ashano’s career. In March 2019, OSOG was chosen to perform in several official showcases at SXSW conference in Austin, TX-part of a month long, East-coast tour. In April 2019, guitarist Dennis Pol’s album “New York City”, in which Omer played a lead part, was published by the prestigious Norwegian gypsy jazz label “Hot Club Records”. Following that release, NYC-based singer-songwriter Ryan Luce released his debut EP “California Gold” with Ashano featured on two tracks in the album. In May 2019 Ashano released his own live debut EP “Alive In New York” featuring his quartet playing Ashano’s original compositions and arrangements, to much positive reviews and acclaim. This year he also served as film composer and musical editor for the silent film “Hannah Can You Hear Me,” which won the AFI World Peace Initiative Cannes Award for “Best Arts Film”.
These days Omer is collaborating with various NYC-based and international artists to initiate an original musical project based primarily on Zimbabwean music, which facilitates guitar styles from West and Central Africa into Omer’s original compositions.
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