Thursday, March 05, 2020

Avishai Cohen - Big Vicious (ECM, 2020)

Trumpeter Avishai Cohen grew up in Tel Aviv, but has made is mark in New York, finishing well in the Thelonious Monk competition and playing in the Mingus Big Band. He has built up a solid discography as a sideman ad this is his his third album as a leader. Relocating from the US to his native Israel, he adds effects and synthesizer to his quiver and forms a band with Uzi Ramirez on guitar, Yonatan Albalak on guitar and bass, Aviv Cohen on drums and Ziv Ravitz on drums and live sampling. They go in a fresh direction, taking direction from advances in ambient music and psychedelia blending jazz with elements of rock hip-hop and beyond. "Hidden Chamber" opens with clear sounding trumpet, adding some echo and skittish electronics, as the drums develop a steady beat for atmospheric guitar, trumpet and swirling electronic sounds. The music evolves gradually, moving further far afield, opening to a section of louder accompaniment for Cohen's trumpet, with the pulsating soundscape moving around his uncluttered sound and using some spoken word sampling. Tight bass and drums form a thick groove on "King Kutner" with snarling electric guitar and powerful swathes of electronics and trumpet giving the music a full and propulsive sound. The full band charges forth together, driving forward, dynamically shifting into more open passages where the electronic instruments hold sway. Everyone returns for the fully integrated dash for the finish line with powerful trumpet playing and crisp drumming. "Fractals" uses smears of sound which breathe and soar with trumpet and drums bubbling up from the mix in short burst of notes amid the ominous swirling electronic soundscape, while "This Time It's Different" builds crisp and sound drumming with guitar accents to set the table, followed by cool sounding electronic filigrees make room for a medium tempo making for an overall dance-able atmosphere. Cohen's trumpet punches gently, developing firm control over the instrument and developing an impressive albeit short solo, adding layers of long tones to meet shimmering electronics in a more trippy part of the song. The final track, "Intent" is an atmospheric ballad with some hauntingly beautiful trumpet playing along side spectral guitar accompaniment. Cohen's tone is pure and longing, and the percussion is subtle, framing his horn playing and the samples that make up much of the backdrop. This album worked well on the whole, Cohen has a strong and memorable tone on the trumpet and a clear conception of the music he is looking to make. He has chose his band mates well and they all make fine contributions furthering the success of this project. Big Vicious -

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