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Avishai Cohen: From Darkness, a new trio studio album

Marta Ramon By

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Avishai Cohen is prolific in music and words, a creative volcano who finds his raison d'être melting with the heart of his wooden instrument. Cohen, who arrived at the forefront of the jazz scene being part of the Chick Corea Sextet "Origin" (from 1996 to 2003), has developed a unique voice and personality as a bassist, but also as a composer and singer. Internationally renowned because of his Trio, accompanied by the pianist Shai Maestro and the drummer Mark Guiliana, it seems that he found in this number the perfect equilibrium to explore the vast world of the music roots through the rhythm, but also through the harmony and the melody thanks to his classical background.

This musician, young in appearance but mature and with deep personality, has been touring around the world with his powerful trio. Nowadays he is accompanied by the pianist Nitai Hershkovits and the drummer Daniel Dor, with whom he has just recorded a captivating studio album From Darkness (Razdaz Recordz), their third together. This much-anticipated album will come out in March 2015 with all new original compositions and a beautiful historical one, "Smile" by Charlie Chaplin. One of their stops in their summer tour was the Valencia Jazz Festival (Spain) where Avishai Cohen found time to sit down with All About Jazz.

All About Jazz: What's going on?

Avishai Cohen: Playing and touring. Doing what I always do, what I have to do.

AAJ: You are touring but you also are preparing a new record.

AC: Yes. We just have finished a trio record, the last thing I have recorded. They are new compositions. I think it is a more rhythmic CD, it's getting a lot of rhythms in comparison, perhaps, to the last one [Almah (Razdaz Recordz, 2013)] which has strings and it's more lineal and melodic. You'll find new compositions, new visions and colors... It's hard to explain, I think it's better just to hear it.

AAJ: And what kind of rhythms have you picked this time?

AC: I think it's always the same, they are all African. My Latin influence is in there also and Arabic are as well... Some things I hear... Yeah, the influence of the rhythm is so global!

AAJ: From where do you get the inspiration to make the fusion of these rhythms with a contemporary jazz language?

AC: Just from living life, you know. Being open and aware of everything that is authentic or seems to be. Many things affect me, even the sound of a city, which has a certain kind of rhythm. At the end of the day it's hard to put your finger on what was it exactly that started it. I get always very attached to rhythm, I am a rhythmic person I guess... I always liked to dance...

AAJ: Are you a good dancer?

AC: [Laughs] I don't know if I am a good dancer but I've always liked the feeling, you know? The rhythm, in itself, is such a strong form of expression and communication. I think that it is probably the biggest reason why I am a musician, because of the rhythm. And then of course, the melody and harmony are almost the rides of that. But really, the next trio record is really exciting.

AAJ: That attraction to rhythm is very potent in your compositions. In other musicians we may feel a melodic or an harmonic developing, but in you it is about the rhythm.

AC: I don't know! I just say that in my eyes, or in my ears, rhythm is such a big part. My other recordings have always had rhythm involved, but in this new one it's there even a little more. It's funny because I wanted to make a more rhythmical record and it just came out from the material I had, and it has a lot of exciting rhythms, and it has some beautiful linear, quiet ballads. But yeah, it's a trio that is really fun for me to play with every night. Anything we do makes us enjoy.

AAJ: Do you feel that you are a universal musician?

AC: I guess I am a universal musician in the way I play all over the world, and that maybe makes me universal. You know, music for me is one of the closest ways to express truth or something that is nature. It is so much itself, it get its own life. I have so much admiration for music, because it says something that other things can't. Music expresses some things that we couldn't express otherwise. Music is beyond words and beyond anything else that I know.

AAJ: Why do you think that music is so natural to you?

AC: Wow, it's a gift! I consider it a gift and I don't think about it too much so it won't disappear! [Smiles]. It is such a wonderful appealing feeling that I have to music since I can remember, since I was a kid. Maybe it has to do with the fact that my parents have a natural love for music and I grew up in an appropriate environment. But there is also a personal thing in music for me that I can't explain. I feel so uplifted with music, it makes me feel better. I was granted such a big gift in my life. Maybe someone can think that it is mad, of course. But that's the beauty, it is like God. I don't necessary believe in God in a traditional way but music is the closest belief to God for me, as nature. Music is beyond anything that I can explain so that's God I guess. I can't really explain it, I can't touch it really, it doesn't belong to you because it belongs to everything. That's music for me, and I am very, very, happy to be part of it.

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