There’s a driving force behind the fine new release from bassist Avishai Cohen. Arvoles (‘Trees’ in the Ladino language derived from old Spanish) begins with the superb opening bass notes of Simonero and crosses back and forth across the line between classical and jazz disciplines.
The intricacy of Cohen’s compositions (the only exception is the traditional title track, which comes second on the album) gives a depth for the listener to wallow in. Even if you’ve not heard any of his previous dozen or so albums, it is impossible to miss the skill and dexterity both as a musician and as a writer of music that was first brought to prominence in the 1990s when Cohen met Chick Corea and was signed to his label.
Cohen also performed for many years with Corea and his knowledge and understanding of the piano is clear in all the tracks on Arvoles, which features pianist Elchin Shirinov and drummer Noam David. Significant contributions are added across the album by Björn Samuelsson (trombone) and Anders Hagberg (flute).
Listen to Simonero here:
Face M shows Cohen’s dramatic virtuosity, followed by Gesture #2 , Elchinov, Childhood (For Carmel) and Gesture #1, which all echo the classical, composed lines and the freedom of jazz improvisation.
The album continues with Nostalgia and the brief, but beautifully-arranged New York 90s, before Wings, the quasi-big band arrangement that shows both Samuelsson and Hagberg flying high above the rhythm section. Cohen’s solo is languorous and trips along before Shirinov takes over with the same lines, developing them furtheras the trio weave in and out of each other before the ensemble section returns to finish with a flurish.
Arvoles is fine composing and arranging for so few players, beautifully performed.