Avishai Cohen’s third CD for the Stretch Records label, Colors, features the talented bassist, composer, arranger, producer, and pianist trusting his own imagination and intelligence in order to capture the auras of chord progressions and rhythmic patterns with this excellent use of musical metaphors. The composer wrote 13 selections for this program and each is a meeting of artistic colors, each rare and emanating its own originality through Cohen’s sense of harmony, expansive tones, and polyrhythms. His earthy placement of “Shay Ke,” a warm, ballad filled with the funk-Middle Eastern oud solo of Amos Hoffman, vocals of Claudia Acuna, and individual gifts from Jimmy Greene on soprano saxophone, is a prime example of Cohen’s ability to realize his maturing non-conformism. The inclusion of Avi Lebovich on trombone in addition to Steve Davis, makes the experiences of his circle of friends a splendid chance to grow musically. Orchestrated for a string quartet, two trombones and soprano saxophone, “Colors,” clings to you long after the song is over and is one of those songs that you are likely to forge a lasting relationship with. In other words, its potential to become a jazz standard is there. Avishai Cohen plays acoustic and electric bass, piano, provides vocals, arranges, and produces this excellent collection of essential music. Joined by Jason Lindner on piano, Steve Davis and Avi Lebovich on trombones, Amos Hoffman on guitar and oud, Jimmy Greene on flute and soprano sax, the amazing Jeff Ballad on drums and percussion, and Claudia Acuna on vocals, the distinct colors that Avishai Cohen exudes here strike the perfect artful balance between composition and improvisation.
Written by Paula Edelstein