Press, Reviews

Iroko review – Downbeat

Avishai Cohen/Abraham Rodriguez Jr.

There comes a time in jazz life where the rhythm section deserves centre stage. That all-too-rare occasion is beautifully represented by Iroko, a felicitous duo meeting of bassist Avishai Cohen and conguero/vocalist/Nuyurican spir- it channeler Abraham Rodriguez Jr., a pillar of the New York Latin jazz community.

Both Cohen and Rodriguez Jr. have carved robust musical lives, but something symbiotic this way comes with Iroko. With the leanest of musical means — a double bass and congas in taut collusion, two or three voices – they conjure an infectious and somehow filling plate of sound and atmosphere, bespeaking a relationship dating back to the ’90s. After succumbing to the minimalist charms and propulsive Afro- Cuban pulses, any residual desire to imagine added textures quickly fades.

The project’s sonic fold embraces with “The Healer,” an undulating two-chord invitation to Afro-Cuban hypnosis. “Fahina” and “Descarga para Andy” up the game of intricacy and infectious sense of abandon.

Closing out the mostly Caribean/Latin American-oriented 14-song set with a sur- prise treat, the pair lends a samba-fied spin to The Moon.” Cohen injects a choice bass solo the would-be leisure-suited classic “Fly Me To and vamps on the coda in push-pull syncopated notes, underscoring the keynote chant “I into the next room. There’s a lot of love in these love you,” with the final “you” stretching out spare-but-vibrant tracks. – Josef Woodard

Iroko: The Healer, Abe’s Thing: Tintorera; It’s A Man’s World; Descarga Para Andy. Avisale A Mi Vecina-Iroko; Thunder Drum; Exodus, A Bailar Mi Bomba; Crossroads; Venus; A La Loma De Belen; Fahina; Fly Me To The Moon. (45:09)

Personnel: Avishai Cohen, bass, vocals; Abraham Rodriguez Jr., conga, vocals; Virginia Alves, vocals.

Ordering info:

Avishai Cohen