AVISHAI COHEN USES EV RE20
“ . . . one of the most gifted bassists of his generation is finding his own voice as a composer.“ The New Yorker
“ . . . one of the best double-bassists in the world.“ Kerstan Mackness, Time Out London
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), isa 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.
Bassist/Composer Avishai Cohen was one of the first Israel-born jazz musicians to make a big splash in the U.S. Cohen moved to New York permanently in 1992 after studying classical/jazz piano and bass in Israel, (Music & Arts Academy and with Maestro Michael Klinghoffer) and in the United States (in St. Louis). After attending both the New School and Mannes College of Music in New York City, Cohen performed with fellow students such as pianist Brad Mehldau. After studying with bassist Andy Gonzalez, Cohen performed in a Latin jazz band that included Abel Rodriguez and Ray Santiago. As a result of this experience, combined with his deep understanding and love of Latin Music and jazz, Cohen got the call to join pianist Danilo Perez’s trio. Cohen moved on from Perez’s band in 1996 to become a founding member of the legendary Chick Corea’s new sextet, “Origin.“
“ . . .nobody’ll kvetch about getting an extra helping of Cohen’s deep, ermine-edged bass, which he strokes with a subtlety hardly anyone matches.“ Greg Burk, L.A. Weekly
Until late in 2003, Avishai was a member of the Chick Corea New Trio (the bassist is prominently featured on the 10 DVD boxed set Chick Corea: Rendezvous In New York), and accompanist to other jazz note-worthies, including Bobby McFerrin, Roy Hargrove, Herbie Hancock, Nnenna Freelon, Claudia Acuña, Paquito D’Rivera and many others. Avishai has become a first call musician in multiple genres. In 2003 he made a studio recording with pop-soul artist Alicia Keys, and has also performed concert works with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and The Boston Pops Symphony.
2003 was a busy year for the bassist/composer. In addition to his playing and composing activities, Cohen decided to create his own record label, preempting the course that fellow artists Dave Holland, Dave Douglas and many others have since taken. “I’ve always been interested in several genres of music, including jazz, rock, pop, classical, Latin and funk,“ said Cohen. “And I’m always packed with ideas, so I decided to start my own label because I’m involved in so many different projects.“ In addition to releasing his own recordings, Razdaz is gearing up to release the debut recording of drummer Mark Guiliana’s genre-busting band Heernt, “Locked In A Basement“ , featuring Guiliana on drums, trombone and electronics, Zac Colwell on saxophone, flute, keyboards and electric guitar, and Neal Persiani on electric bass.
Razdaz Recordz is distributed internationally and in the US by Sunnyside/Ryko Distribution. The label released its debut CD, Avishai’s Lyla in September 2003. The second recording on Razdaz Recordz is extraordinary 11-song collection, At Home, a recording that showcases Cohen’s multifaceted musical prowess (released on February 22, 2005).
Avishai Cohen will be on a worldwide tour with his trio, plus special guests, in support of Continuo throughout 2006, including engagements at Ronnie Scotts, The Blue Note (Japan & New York) and The Ottawa Jazz Festival and appearances at the JVC Jazz Festivals - New York and Newport.