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Wednesday October 22, 2014

From Jazz History Online

By: Thomas Cunniffe

For many jazz musicians, recordings are an important part of their career, and they take extraordinary care to bring the music as close to perfection as possible. Other musicians, like trumpeter Avishai Cohen, take the opposite approach, letting their reflections capture how their music sounded on one particular day.

For ‘Dark Nights’, Cohen’s third CD with his trio Triveni, he selected music that the group had never rehearsed or performed before, and the group agreed to not record more than two takes on any given number. Even when overdubbing electronic effects’“as he does on the opening track ‘Dark Nights, Darker Days’‘“Cohen added the extra parts without listening to the complete playback first. When using the electronics, he creates a virtual duet with himself and it’s fascinating to hear ideas bouncing between the acoustic and electronic trumpet tracks.

While the electronic effects are well-done, I prefer tracks like ‘You in All Directions’, where the group (with bassist Omer Avital and drummer Nasheet Waits) engages in brilliant three-way acoustic conversations. The playlist features six of Cohen’s original pieces, with the standout being ‘The OC’ which, in a mere two-and-a-half minutes evokes the open structures of Ornette Coleman’s classic quartet. Cohen also acknowledges the past with mournful takes on ‘Lush Life’ and ‘Goodbye Pork Pie Hat’, along with a swinging version of ‘Shiny Stockings’, complete with the original shout choruses!

The album is enhanced by guest appearances by Anat Cohen (Avishai’s sister) and Gerald Clayton, both of whom came to the studio from the airport after returning from a gig on the West Coast. Anat’s clarinet wails against Waits’ explosive drums on ‘Betray’, and both Anat and Gerald add measurably to the funk groove on ‘Old Soul’. Clayton’s best moments are on the final track, a heart-rending version of ‘I Fall in Love Too Easily’, featuring the understated vocals of Israeli singer Keren Ann.