Avishai Cohen Trio at the Highline Ballroom
(by Anna Yetskevich)
“I lived in New York for 12 years. My musical genes are from NY, “saidAvishai Cohen during his long awaited show at the Highline Ballroomon June 22. The concert was a part of the annual Blue Note Jazz Festival running through the end of June. Avishai Cohen is a renowned bass player and composer, with thirteen records to his name, he enjoys critical acclaim and admiration from the fans worldwide.
The first time I heard Avishai Cohen’s music it made a lasting impression and “Remembering” is still one of my favorite songs. Just like many other people who came to the show, I was looking forward to seeing him live and I was not disappointed. Last time Avishai Cohen played in New York was almost three years ago and this time he brought with him two very talented young musicians from Israel – Nitai Hershkovitson piano and Daniel Dor on drums.
The trio played a mix of old and new material. A beautiful ballad from the new album Almah, “a Child is Born,” kept the audience in awe. And the older stuff, like “Seattle,” sounded incredible as well. There is something almost ephemeral and life affirming in Avishai’s music. It has a certain lightness and vitality and something magical.
Avishai is a versatile and confident player. He plays with force and power, plucking the bass with passion and slapping it to add more to the rhythm but also using space and silence to accentuate the tunes. And he plays the bow. Watching him live is an unforgettable experience.There is a reason Nita Hershkovits is referred to as “the golden fingered pianist” – his talent is uncontested and he plays beautifully, it was a delight to hear him solo.
When the band left the stage, everyone knew they had to come back. “We just went backstage because that’s what everyone does” joked Avishai as they returned. I was very excited because they played “Remembering” for their encore. A beautiful song! As they continued playing for another 20 minutes, people would shout out the songs they wanted to hear. It is one of the biggest compliments for a musician: to play for a crowd that knows what he does, knows the material, and wants to hear it. Perhaps it is one of the reasons why Avishai Cohen said that New York City is one of his favorite places to perform.