Half Notes: Avishai Cohen – Introducing Triveni (2010)

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by S. Victor Aaron

Avishai Cohen, the trumpet player, was last seen nearly two years ago in conjunction with his 2008 release Flood, a sparsely configured work where he sought to push against the outer boundaries of jazz using just his trumpet accompanied by only piano and percussion. This year’s Introducing Triveni also involves only three players, but the objectives are much different. Going with a more conventional format of bass (Omer Avital) and drums (Nasheet Waits), Cohen is also going back to basics of jazz. Using mostly his own songs as vehicles for improvisation, the band nonetheless never lets it devolve into a straight blowing sessions; the proceedings move along at a natural pace; “Mood Indigo” for instance is played at a lazy pace that favors mood and style over chops just for the sake of chops. Cohen plays with the grace and intellect of Miles, but with the control and dexterity of Woody Shaw (check out his acrobatic ending statements on Don Cherry’s “Art Deco” for a showcase of his technical mastery). Of the Cohen originals, the last track “October 25th” is the most exhilarating, as Waits’ unpredictability makes the other two react and try to guess where he’s taking the tune. Recorded obviously “live in the studio” over two days, Introducing Triveni is the first product of those sessions; a second Triveni release is slated to release next May. Until then, Introducing Triveni provides yet another facet of Cohen’s virtuosity to enjoy.

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