Album review “From Darkness”; A sophisticated and creative masterpiece: a sign that brings impact to the world of Jazz
“From darkness” is the second trio album since 2008 and falls after his atypical instrumental releases such as; the piano duo album “Duende” or the unique strings project “Almah”.
Avishai’s technique, after all this time, is obviously magnificent and all that needs to be said is that “he is a musician with the highest skills” and what I should discuss here is rather what kind of music he creates with that expertise. Usually a bass trio album tends to showcase skills or on the contrary hide in the background and only assist the music. However Avishai’s music focuses on neither.
Avishai’s bass-work fits perfectly with his music without becoming overly prominent. For example it’s like the cello’s position in a string quartet. The structure isn’t simple and his music is consistently melodious. But it’s more than that; the melody is not superficial but rather deep with emotion.
When listening to Avishai’s music, it gives a rich feeling beyond pleasure.
By Fumiaki Fujimoto
Interview with Avishai Cohen on “From Darkness”, January 2015
“Music can remind us of another reality in our lives, specifically the significance of love and sentiment.”
I started listening to the first track “Beyond” gingerly and then suddenly cheerful sounds of piano and drum rhythms appeared in front of me. It was a wonderful surprise.
This happy introduction makes you feel like you’re welcoming a new, refreshing day. Powerful and deep bass rapidly plunges you to the musical world of Avishai Cohen. Unforgettable melodies stick in your mind and you find yourself replaying the tunes long after you’ve listened. The unique rhythm combined with Avishai’s bass beats make you unconsciously move your body. With the release of the new trio album “From Darkness” just around the corner, Avishai comments “It took a long time, but I am now satisfied with the new sounds.” Appreciation for “From Darkness” comes from not merely enjoying the music, but rather experiencing a new life.
“To me, the trio has been always there. Even in my previous projects such as the piano duet, or with a string ensemble, the trio was there. ” Avishai says. “I have endeavoured to make the second trio album different, but to find something that goes beyond “Gently Disturbed” has not been easy.”
Avishai has energetically released a variety of works over the last six years, such as; “Sensitive Hours” (2008, Israel only) featuring vocals, “Aurora” (2009), “Seven Seas” (2011) which combines singing in Hebrew, Ladino and Spanish, “Duende”(2012) the piano-bass duo, and “Almah””(2013) with a string ensemble. However “the next trio” has always been his dearest formation.
Towards the end of 2013 Avishai had asked Daniel Dor, a good friend of Nitai Hershkovits, to perform as part of the ‘From Darkness’ trio. Avishai recalls the moment of his first meeting with Daniel by saying, “I strongly felt a fresh sound from Daniel’s playing, and at the same time I interestingly found a familiarity with his sounds as if we had played together for many years. Therefore it was so natural for me to think of recording a new trio album.”
Daniel was a high school friend of Shai Maestro, who performed and toured alongside Avishai for six years. In their high school days Daniel and Shai used to listen to Avishai’s album’s and it made their hearts beat. Looking back on the old days, Daniel says, “we really wanted to know how Avishai created such wonderful music.” After many years Daniel has finally become apart of the Avishai Cohen Trio, and become established as a necessary partner in Avishai’s music.
“From Darkness” gives you the feeling of being at a live performance of the trio. Avishai reveals that, “A great part of the new album is the unique expression that Nitai and Daniel have newly created through their playing. I wrote the compositions, but I found many new things through their work. So during recording at the Nilento studio I really enjoyed listening to their playing and watching how they express the music I wrote.” Nitai and Daniel comment that, “Freedom and joy prevailed at the studio, so we could focus on a musical dialogue between us.” This explains why the realistic sensation stands out throughout the album. Among others the heavy groove that accompanies the tracks “C?–“,”Lost Tribe”, and “Amethyst” leaves strong vibrations in the body and echoes in your ears.
“From Darkness” has a variety of compositions that arouse’ our sentimentality, sadness or grace of our inside body. “Ballad for an Unborn” is a ballad for a child who could not come into the world. The sensitive play of Nitai who has also an appreciation for classical music gives the tune even the slightest hope. Avishai composed “Almah Sleeping” when he watched his beloved two year old daughter sleeping and through the lullaby you can sympathise with his happiness of being a father. “Music can remind us of another reality in our lives, specifically the significance of love and sentiment.” Each composition of “From Darkness” reflects Avishai’s consistent philosophy as an artist.
“No light can get in without darkness. Human beings come into the world through darkness and the title shows that the darkness has a positive aspect.” Avishai says. Darkness inspires the music of Avishai. In January 2015, Japan will the first to release the Avishai Cohen Trio album “From Darkness”.
The album is filled with happiness, sorrow and grace which ultimately triggers a flood of emotion. Close your eyes and just listen carefully to each melody and harmony, then the music may drive you to a new experience in life.
Interview and article by Yoshi Higuchi
Photo; Youri Lenquette / JAZZjapan