Avishai Cohen (Flood – 2008)

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Trumpeter/composer Avishai Cohen is a forward-thinking musician who has performed in various ensembles mixing avant-garde jazz, post-bop, klezmer, rock, and world music since the ’90s. Born in Israel, Cohen was interested in music from a young age and by his teens was a member of the Young Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. He attended Berkeley School of Music in Boston and in 1997 achieved third place in the Thelonious Monk Jazz Trumpet Competition. Since graduating, Cohen has performed with a variety of artists, including vocalists Claudia Acuña andKeren Ann, vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, and many others. He is also a member of such ensembles as Third World Love with bassist Omer Avital and the avant-garde Lemon Juice Quartet. Cohen also performs with his equally talented siblings Anat Cohen (saxophone) and Yuval Cohen (soprano sax) as 3 Cohens. He has released two albums under his own name: The Trumpet Player in 2003 and After the Big Rain in 2007.

Album Review

It isn’t hard to understand why some people have incorrectly assumed that bassist Avishai Cohen and trumpeter Avishai Cohen are the same person. They have the same name, both are jazz musicians, both are originally from Israel, and both moved to New York City in the 1990s. But they are definitely two different people; besides, the bassist grew up in Jerusalem, whereas the trumpeter’s home town is Tel Aviv.

Flood is by the trumpeter — not the bassist — and this 2006 recording is the second part of his “Big Rain Trilogy.” Progressive rock, power metal, and new age certainly don’t have the market cornered on concept albums; there have been plenty of them in jazz as well, and Cohen has been quoted as saying that he considers this instrumental CD “the description of a flood, much like in the days of Noah, but not in an attempt to tell the biblical story.

The music does not tell the story from the point of view of the human beings, but rather, from the point of view of nature.” If that concept makes your head spin, fear not — the post-bop material (all of it composed by Cohen) isn’t overly abstract and is actually fairly accessible. Cohen’s trumpet playing is pleasingly lyrical and melodic, and his appreciation of Miles Davis’ use of economy serves him well on reflective offerings like “Heavy Water” and “Sunrays over Water.” Like Davis and Chet Baker, Cohen (who forms an acoustic trio with pianist Yonatan Avishai and percussionist Daniel Freedman) chooses his notes carefully and wisely. But Davis is hardly his only influence; Cohen has a bigger tone, and his appealing, expressive lyricism also owes something to trumpeters ranging from Don Cherry to Tom Harrell to Freddie Hubbard. Flood is a memorable and impressive demonstration of Cohen’s talents as both a soloist and a composer.

Price: $9.99 (buy CD, listen to a samples)
Genres: Jazz, Music, Contemporary Jazz
Released: Oct 21, 2008
℗ 2008 Anzic Records, LLC

Avishai Cohen

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