Avishai Cohen, Big Vicious Review
Avishai Cohen is an Israeli-born composer and trumpet player that is known for his adventurous and forward-thinking approach to the jazz genre. His music combines the best of avant-garde jazz, post-bop, and klezmer to form a swirling tapestry of musical sounds. Cohen leads his projects as well as several other projects, including his Triveni trio, Third World Love with bassist Omer Avital, and the 3 Cohens with his siblings, clarinetist Anat Cohen and saxophonist Yuval Cohen. In 2016, Cohen joined the ECM label with the release of Into the Silence, featuring saxophonist Bill McHenry, pianist Yonathan Avishai, bassist Eric Revis, and drummer Nasheet Waits. The following year, Cross My Palm with Silver marked his second ECM release. Each album featured his distinctive lyricism and ability to control a creative musical space in a meaningful manner. Cohen and pianist Yonathan Avishai created a vibrant recording of their conversational playing with their 2019 ECM album Playing the Room. Now, Cohen is releasing his fourth ECM album titled Big Vicious on March 27, 2020.Positives: Cohen again displays his wide-open approach to jazz by including textures from electronica, ambient music, and psychedelia set to grooves and beats from rock, pop, trip-hop, and multiple strains of jazz. Bottom Line: Cohen’s electric project Big Vicious features two guitarists and two drummers and continues to win audiences at international festivals. The album is the catalyst for the band’s extensive international tour and was recorded in Studios La Buissonne in the South of France in August 2019 and produced by Manfred Eicher. The players are Cohen: trumpet, effects, synthesizer; Uzi Ramirez: guitar; Yonatan Albalak: guitar, bass; Aviv Cohen: drums; and Ziv Ravitz: drums, live sampling. The material covered on the nine tracks is taken from a wide-open approach, from originals to arrangements of Massive Attack to Beethoven. “Honey Fountain” builds methodically as each musician layers in until Cohen begins the melody. The presence of two drummers can be felt, adding to the rhythmic interest and energy. The relaxed interaction between Cohen’s warm trumpet and Albalak’s guitar colors is outstanding. The electronica influence can be heard in subtle sounds that float in, but never subtract from the calming energy and acoustic nature of the ensemble. “Teardrop” is built around Cohn’s smooth trumpet style that contains just enough reverb to give his sound and ambient color without diluting his beautiful tone. Aviv and Ziv also create colors on their drum sets by using mallets and reverb effects. The fluidity of each players use of electronic sounds to enhance the overall soundscape adds to the feel and sonic color. “Moonlight Sonata” is given a distinctive electronica coloring. Albalak and Ramirez both create impressive sounds using their pedals and their instruments. Cohen states the melody in a very recognizable manner as the rest of the ensemble plays with sonic pastels. When not playing the trumpet, Cohen continues to add to the tapestry by triggering sounds. The overall result of Big Vicious is an adventure in contemporary sounds influenced by today’s music brought to life by an ensemble with deep improvisational skills in both performing their respective instruments, but also in creating meaningful electronic sounds that contribute to the music. That’s the short of it!
Connect with Avishai Cohen: Website |
The Things You Tell Me
This Time It’s Different
The Cow & The Calf
Release Date: March 27, 2020
ECM Records GmbH