Avishai Cohen's Triveni 'Dark Nights' (2014 Anzic)

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Thursday October 16, 2014

From Exiled in Eugene

Avishai Cohen’s Triveni ‘Dark Nights’ (2014 Anzic)
By: Joshua Finch

I’m not exactly a jazz aficionado, so know that when I say that Dark Nights is my favorite jazz record of 2014 so far, it’s only stacked up against about 5 other records. However, you may also take into account that I’m a picky bastard with music across the board.

The record opens with ‘Dark Nights, Darker Days’ a brooding, slow-burn that builds in intensity throughout it’s 7 minute span, applying some layered effects (I wont spoil it by saying which effects, per se) to the lead trumpet, adding a new twist to an otherwise largely traditional, albeit ever so sultry, piece. It also sets the pace for Cohen’s sharp ability to balance swanky, sexy, hip with moments of adherence to jazz tradition. The feat the Triveni pulls off here (and again and again over the course of this new record) is giving you just enough of the familiar to relax you, letting you sink back in your chair comfortably, before dropping something a little bit more challenging, into your lap.

Not to top, but quite possibly to match Avishai Cohen’s trumpet (as hinted at by the use of ‘Triveni’ rather than ‘Trio’‘¦ look it up) bassist Omer Avital and drummer Nasheet Waits round out this incredibly dynamic three piece. Avital’s bass teases, almost playfully on ‘You In All Directions’ seemingly independent of the trumpet’s lead, as if a secondary lead, joyfully stumbling off in it’s own direction. As we lay on the couch together, listening, my partner smiled, noting ‘It’s like they’re spreading out all of the pieces of the puzzle for you to see, and slowly putting them together as the song progresses.’ And she wasn’t wrong‘¦ as the drums seem to spiral off into relative chaos, the bass mellows it’s wanderings, and the trumpet mellows to a croon, giving way to a split second of silence, leading brilliantly from the record’s most free-form/chaotic into it’s most grandiose moment: ‘Betray.’

‘Betray’ is downright infectious, demands movement, and verges on big band, but even so, the hugeness is dwarfed by a creeping lethargy. It is as if the horns slowly get high on their own supply, and by the final refrain have a charming, intoxicated stagger in their delivery. If you aren’t sold just yet, bear in mind that the journey I’ve described, at this point, is merely the first three tracks.

To read the rest of the review, click here