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A Shape-Shifting Soundscape

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Friday April 20, 2018

From The Financial Times

Avishai Cohen Quartet, Ronnie Scott’s, London — a shape-shifting soundscape

The muted balladry, pirouetting lines and pithy rhythmic stabs of the Miles Davis aesthetic are cornerstones of contemporary jazz trumpet, from crossover fusion to the avant-garde. Avishai Cohen delivers each element in full with a muscular edge and pinpoint focus that set him apart. With rhythmic tweaks and quirks blended in, he is now a standout trumpeter in contemporary jazz with a strong personal voice.

This one-set performance located his mastery and control within a shape-shifting soundscape of multiple references. The repertoire, drawn from two recent ECM recordings, was played by the long-term acquaintances who featured on both CDs — “brothers and friends” was how Cohen put it two numbers in. The rhythm section handled the contrasting moods, sharp turns and short unison breaks without seeming to break sweat; with Cohen’s virtuosity merged into the band sound, the sense of a collective was strong.

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