How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Releasing already his third CD on the Stretch label, Avishai Cohen is further elaborating on the vision he revealed on "Adama" and continued through his second CD, "Devotion."
Make no mistake about it: "Vision" is the appropriate word for explaining the aesthetic he expresses on "Colors." Not only does Cohen possess an broad artistic perspective that becomes more evident with each release, but also he quite literally compares the music he embraces with the literal sense of vision. Indeed, in the liner notes, Cohen goes so far as to compare an E-minor chord to dark red and a G-major chord to light green. Now, that's a fairly detailed order within an overriding vision. Nonetheless, Cohen's appreciation of the inter-relatedness of art forms helps him borrow from experiences and sights for musical expression.
Thus, it's entirely appropriate to describe Cohen's music in terms of palettes and hues and prisms and concentrations of elements for a resulting mixture of basic colors and basic notes that result in a shifting kaleidoscope of artistic endeavor. "Shuffle" involves a celebration of sorts in an loping introductory meter that dissolves into a 4/4 swing featuring the outstanding soloists of his band. "Balkan" refers to the folk origins of the music that Cohen investigates, Amos Hoffman making those origins explicit with his employment of the oud for Eastern European, and indeed Middle Eastern, shadings. Claudia Acuna joins Cohen's group for wordless expression in unison with the instruments on "Emotions," humanizing the songs through the use of the voice.
The point, it seems, of Cohen's music leads to the conclusion of the universality of his music, which of course borrows from jazz. It also incorporates elements of Latin rhythms, Sephardic phrasing, gypsy populism and classical harmonies performed by a string quartet.
Joined again by his boyhood friend, Avi Lebovich on trombone, as well as his working band, Avishai Cohen further expands upon his distinctly individual approach to music. On "Colors," he delves even more into the underlying artistic basis for his musicnot to mention the converging concepts of all of the realms of art.
Track Listing: Shuffle; Heavy; Emotions; Shay Ke; Colors; De Ye Tan Di; Arka; Balkan; I B 4 U; Slick; Le Jeff; Inner Frame; Voice
Personnel: Avishai Cohen, acoustic & electric bass, piano, Fender Rhodes, vocal; Jimmy Greene, soprano & tenor sax, flute; Avi Lebovich, Steve Davis, trombone; Jason Lindner, piano; Amos Hoffman, guitar, oud; Claudia Acuna, vocals; Yagil Baras, acoustic bass; Jeff Ballard, Antonio Sanchez, drums, percussion. String quartet: Tom Chin, Jesse Mills, violin; Kenji Bunch, viola; Fred Sherry, cello