Bassist/Composer Avishai Cohen, born April 20, 1970 in Israel, a musician who has been called a “jazz visionary of global proportions” by DownBeat, and was declared one of the 100 Most Influential Bass Players of the 20th Century by Bass Player Magazine, is renowned around the world as an influential double bassist and profound composer, and has received a deluge of critical praise for his recent recorded output and live performances.
In February of 2005 Razdaz Recordz released At Home, an album that was arguably Avishai Cohen’s most compelling and striking new recording to date. That is until the artist conceived of, and recorded his newest CD, the spectacularly beautiful, Continuo.
Continuo, Cohen’s third recording on his label Razdaz Recordz, and his seventh as a leader, was recorded in Gothenburg, Sweden in December 2005 with Avishai’s core trio of pianist/keyboardist Sam Barsh and drummer/percussionist Mark Guiliana (drums, percussion). The trio, a crackerjack unit that has been on the road for the last two and a half years, welcomed into the fold a long-time collaborator of Cohen’s, fellow Israeli Amos Hoffman, who contributed his singular oud playing to several tracks. Avishai explains the importance of having Hoffman contribute his artistry to this recording: “A lot of the new material on Continuo has a through- composed, classical music-like nature to it, as well as open sections for solos. In addition to that, there are strong Middle Eastern influences in some parts of the compositions. Contemplating the material for the album, I realized I wanted an additional color added to the trio in order to enhance those influences. There was only one man for the job, and that man is Amos Hoffman. Amos was a member of my earlier New York band, which recorded my first three records (Adama, Devotion & Colors).”
“There’s no way to reduce bassist Avishai Cohen’s music into tidy categories. Seamlessly blending Middle Eastern, folk, funk, fusion, and straight-ahead jazz—often on the same song—Cohen has fashioned a singular vision, and it’s a joy to experience.” —Jazziz
Continuo (a Baroque term that is generally the practice of creating an accompaniment from a composed bass part and improvising harmony above them, or, improvising accompaniments from figured bass), is a recording that once again reflects Avishai Cohen’s life in music by combining the glorious influences of classical music and Middle Eastern music. Essentially, “fusing the two worlds of East and West. These elements together produced the combination of sounds I was looking for, and created a nice balance between composed and improvised music. I’m excited and proud to offer you some moments of my life once again, reflected through the music,” says Cohen. This recording also reflects the magic of a working band, which in this music is stronger than any concept,” says Avishai. He continued, “I’m very grateful to have two young masters (Sam Barsh and Mark Guiliana) of their instruments with me to convey that, young in their ever thirsty minds for more information, and old enough in their souls to emotionally express themselves on a very high level through the compositions.” Continuo, the follow up recording to the critically acclaimed At Home, will be released on May 23, 2006 through Sunnyside Records, and will be distributed by RykoDisc.