Avishai Cohen – Triveni II (2012)

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For Triveni II, Avishai Cohen (the trumpet player, not the bass dude), the stated intention of this record was to recreate the feeling Cohen got from listening to Billie Holiday: “a feeling that’s pure, simple and honest.” That’s the same vibe I get from listening to Cohen’s Triveni sessions. We already said a few words about these 2009 two day live-in-the-studio recordings two years ago, when part of those recordings were released as the album Introducing Triveni.

Triveni II is more from those sessions Cohen led with Omer Avital (bass) and Nasheet Waits (drums). Like Introducing, the program is roughly evenly split between Cohen’s own pen and the composing pen of songs and jazz figures he’s admired. More importantly then that, this too is a feel record, where spontaneity and trust in the other players rule over these performances, and the songs don’t linger much longer than they need to.

Waits’ rambunctious swing serves notice this isn’t a session for slouching on “Safety Land,” as Cohen is playing like as if his career depended on it. Omer leads trio down several paths, retaining his funk along the way. “Nov. 30th (dedicated to my mother)” is built around a simple bass pattern, but Cohen’s muted horn is affectingly whimsical and occasionally impish. Avital steals the show on Gillespie’s “Woody ‘n’ You,” where he’s pulling triple duty performing the theme with Cohen, the harmony part and walking his bass with speed and preciseness during Cohen’s solo. Cohen begins Charles Mingus’ pretty ballad “Portrait” with a fragility that comes off genuinely, gaining more confidence as he progresses to the point that his voluminous tone fills up the whole room. Avital and Waits add some muscle to Cohen’s heavyhearted expressions on “Get Blue,” and if you hadn’t heard of Ornette Coleman’s “Follow The Sound” before, there’s a good reason for it: it’s never been recorded before. Here, Cohen undertakes the harmolodic melody all on his own to begin this brief track, and Waits runs free as Omer ties together the two battling forces.

At times the mood signifies that they’re getting down to serious business and other times, they’re just having fun. “Willow Weep For Me” led by Cohen’s feisty plunged trumpet, falls in the latter category. So does an alternate take of Don Cherry’s “Art Deco” performance in a straightforward but playful manner as its done on the version included in Introducing, but with Avital slipping in all kinds of quotes from jazz standard into his bass solo.

In simply convening a trio and “knocking out” tunes like the masters of old, relying on their instincts, he would get that “pure, simple and honest” record he prizes from Holiday, Mingus, Gillespie and Ornette Coleman. And now, he’s gotten two such records with that feel.

Triveni II is scheduled for release on October 30, by Anzic Records.

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Triveni IIIntroducing TriveniAfter the Big RainFlood

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