Monday, February 6

Avishai Cohen Trio: Shifting Sands review – exhilarating, incandescent jazz | Music

yesSince his emergence in Chick Corea’s trio in 1997, the Israeli-born double bassist Avishai Cohen has become a global star for his bass sound that joins cello-like purity to percussive drama, and for original compositions embracing American jazz, Latin music, Sephardic- Jewish folk song, avant-funk, orchestral works, even pop-tinged vocals.

Cohen’s 2021 album Two Roses was a sympathetic jazz/classical collaboration with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, while 2019’s Arvoles was the opposite: an elegant chamber-musical expansion of the intimacies of a jazz piano trio. But Shifting Sands is something exhilaratingly different – ​​starker, simpler, coming straight from the leader’s palpable delight in jamming with energetic kindred spirits after the isolations of the pandemic.

Avishai Cohen Trio: Shifting Sands album cover

The pianist is Elchin Shirinov, the thoughtful but forceful Azerbaijani musician who played on both Two Roses and Arvoles, and the wild card is Roni Kaspi, the rising 21-year-old Israeli drumming sensation. Cohen’s characteristically songlike themes abound: Intertwined’s churning eight-note piano hook beneath the folksy bass-led melody is badgered by Kaspi’s snappy, cross-grooving interjections; or in the brightly dancing The Window, Shirinov’s upturning elisions on resolving figures sound like the phrasing of a singer. The hymnal Dvash develops on an elegant piano/bass counterpoint (fitfully recalling the legendary Modern Jazz Quartet’s classic dialogues) but irrepressibly disrupted by Kaspi’s asymmetrical patterns, while the unison bowed-bass-and-piano whirl of Joy is a vehicle for her ferociously flat -out solo thrash against the quickly arriving hook. Cohen’s vivacious bass improv and Shirinov’s contrastingly unflappable lyricism glow through this fine set – and if the new tunes add few surprises to the leader’s signature songbook, the playing is incandescent.

Also out this month

Snarky Puppy keyboardist and acclaimed composer Bill Laurance releases Bill Laurance & the Untold Orchestra Live at EFG London Jazz Festival 2021 (FlintMusic). It’s a collaboration with Manchester’s innovative jazz/classical group the Untold Orchestra, featuring cinematically jazzy earworms including Flint, December in New York, and the warmly dreamy Zeal.

Original Ethiopia-raised and LA-based keys kibrom birhane joins driving funk, slinky Coltranesque sax lines wriggling through soul-bluesy horn vamps, and morphed Ethiopian song-structures on the improv-light but distinctively seductive Here and There (Flying Carpet).

and LA producer/saxophonist Sam Gendelwhose ambient, electronic, breathily sidelong sounds are light years from regular jazz, or known-world sax technique for that matter, unfolds more eerily mesmeric solos and collaborations from the studios and streets on the 34-track Superstore (Leaving Records).

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