Avant graduated from University of Alabama with a bachelor's of music in arranging in 1980. For a number of years, Avant has been leader of the Tuscaloosa Horns and the Night Flight Big Band. He is a graduate of the jazz arranging program at the University of Alabama, where he worked with noted jazz educators Steve Sample, Sr and Ray Reach. The Tuscaloosa Horns make regular appearances with notable popular music groups, such as The Temptations, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves, Smokey Robinson and many others. The Night Flight Big Band appeared regularly at Ona's Music Room in Birmingham and recorded an album titled SuperBlue - Eric Essix and the Night Flight Big Band.