Avishai Cohen; what can I say other than he is a giant amongst the post-bop and hard-bop trumpet players of this modern jazz era, and his latest release is a fitting addition to my collection.
Thelonious Monk Jazz competition winner of 1997, heavily influenced by the late, great Miles Davis and an intrinsic member to the ECM family, Cohen has releases this new, socially conscious album. His statements allude to the fact that we do not live in the matrix and these events are happening around us.
As the internet takes a choking hold on our daily lives and the world become more aware of social, economic and other outcries against humanity, Cohen reflects this in his music without words; akin to a political activist if you will. Other musicians elevated to this platform rarely sustain this journey, so deep and for so long.
A number of powerful statements are re-told as in Will I Die, Miss? Will I Die? It is not until you watch the Aleppo boy's story of the bombing this composition takes another dimension. Cohen begins this composition with an eerie soliloquy and he is joined seamlessly by the smooth bass and Nasheet Waits' feathered use of the rider cymbals.
Theme For Jimmy Greene is a respectful requiem to saxophonist and music professor, Jimmy Green, who lost his six-year old daughter in the tragic shooting of Sandy Hook. Cohen plays with great control and shows restraint in this compelling composition full of reflection and ponder. Although not rhythmic, you appreciate its artistic content.
I am not sure if 340 Down is a direct reference to Google removing 340 fake advertising sites in 2016. Whatever its intention, the trio's collaboration felt in this free-spirited type jam is smooth yet creative, unleashing the disjointed tempo between Lento and Adagio.
Cohen delivers an all-powerful recital with Shoot Me In The Leg, alluding to the police shootings in America where suspects were allegedly quoted as saying "shoot me in the leg, but don't kill me". Notwithstanding the political statement, this waltz-themed composition is my favourite of the album, played in an upbeat tempo after the sombre intro. French pianist Yonathan Avishai dominates this composition with his effortless control of the ivory underpinning the melodic timbre of the brass.
50 Years And Counting is a fitting ending to this album on an upbeat swing tempo, again dominated by the ivory. Barak Mori plays precise staccato upright bass movements adding to the completeness of this creative composition.
What a genius!
Avishai Cohen - Trumpet
Barak Mori - Double Bass
Nasheet Waits - Drums
Jonathan Avishai - Piano