Warming Up

Warming Up

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Album Spotlight: Avishai Cohen "Introducing Triveni"

Avishai Cohen’s album “Introducing Triveni” is ridiculously good. You should listen to it. It’s streaming in its entirety for free here - and if you like it, you should consider buying it at this very same link.

“Introducing Triveni” is one of the best new albums I’ve heard in a long time. Everything about it is good: great tunes and arrangements (the originals and covers are both equally strong and compelling); exceptional individual playing, wonderful interplay between the trio’s members; excellent sound, production and mix; and even great packaging.

I have a few of Avishai Cohen’s other albums (“Flood” and “After The Big Rain”) as well as some of the albums of an ensemble he plays with, Third World Love. Everything I have heard with Cohen on it is good. He is a really special player - the complete package. I’m generally not into super physical trumpet playing – the whole High, Loud, and Fast school. While I really do admire those who can play like that (it shows a serious level of commitment and devotion to get to such high levels of technical prowess), I usually enjoy music that hits me, moves me, makes me feel – often the pyrotechnic stuff alone just doesn’t do it for me. Sometimes though there are players that have these amazing technical abilities that also have the gift of being able to tell a story. Master musician trumpet players like Dizzy Gillespie, Clifford Brown, Booker Little, Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Dave Douglas, etc. Those guys can all play high, loud, and fast, for sure, but they can also really sing through their instruments while stretching the limits of what is physically possible on the horn. BTW – as an aside, I should really include Miles Davis on this list of virtuosos whose music I admire. Too often Miles doesn’t get credit for having the capabilities to  play high, loud, and fast, which he does; but it’s his ability to slay you with one note that does it for me (and millions of others).

Anyway, I’m rambling, back to the subject at hand – Avishai. He’s not really a high, loud, fast guy, but he can certainly burn on fast tempos. And he’s got high chops (not Maynard Ferguson chops, but I bet Avishai could pull out a Double C if he needed to). And I’m sure he can blow down the Walls of Jericho – but he also can play beautifully at a whisper.  Maybe most importantly, Avishai has impeccable musicality and he swings his ass off. He clearly knows and has seriously studied the tradition and lineage of jazz trumpet players. But he also has something unique and personal to say – always with a beautiful tone in all registers of the horn.  And he has amazing control, a real command of the instrument. When I hear him play I imagine that he has the ability to execute whatever he wants. That’s kind of the goal with playing this music. You want to be equipped with the technique and knowledge to play whatever enters your head/exits your heart. I think Avishai has these kind of chops. And he’s only 34. It’s going to be fun to watch and listen to him mature and develop. “Introducing Triveni” is a good venue to observe him at this moment in his artistic path. There’s a definite acknowledgment of (and respect for) the history of jazz, but there is also the underlying notion that something new must always be created to keep the tradition of development and innovation going. Have I mentioned that I like this record? When you have some time to really listen, check it out.

For more on Avishai Cohen look here: http://www.avishaicohenmusic.com/

And check out this WBGO interview and live session excerpts with Cohen and Triveni.

It also looks like Cohen is manning the trumpet chair (succeeding Dave Douglas and Nicolas Payton) in the San Francisco Jazz Collective and also touring with his siblings as The 3 Cohens.


  1. But how do you feel about his soul patch?

  2. It works nicely with the tail thing he's got going in the back. Very symmetrical.