WBGO: Avishai Cohen

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Monday May 15, 2017


Take Five: Bria Skonberg, Avishai Cohen, Diego Barber, Anat Cohen, Chad Lefkowitz-Brown
By: Nate Chinen

Avishai Cohen, ’50 Years and Counting’

The Israeli trumpeter Avishai Cohen made a powerfully ruminative statement with his 2016 album Into the Silence, featuring a rhythm section of pianist Yonathan Avishai, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Nasheet Waits. Cohen’s equally gorgeous new album, Cross My Palm With Silver, reenlists most of the same players but to a more exploratory effect. (Barak Mori, a friend since high school days in Tel Aviv, replaces Revis on bass.)

There’s grace and lyricism in the album’s original themes, but always with a tensile undertow. ’50 Years and Counting’ ‘” its title a possible reference to Israeli occupation of the West Bank ‘” features a mournful melody over buoyant polyrhythmic swing. Cohen’s playing brims with charisma, at one point calling Wynton Marsalis to mind, while the piano solo deepens a bittersweet intrigue.

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