Sunday, May 05, 2013

Avishai Cohen's Superb Triveni II

This writer missed Introducing Triveni, trumpeter Avishai Cohen’s first trio album with bassist Omer Avital and drummer Nasheet Waits. Anzic Records has issued Triveni II, recorded at the same two-day session in Brooklyn that produced the earlier album. Triveni is a Sanskrit word for “the meeting point of three sacred rivers: two physical rivers the Ganges and Yamuna, and the invisible Saraswati River,” which parallels the meeting of the three musicians. Like the earlier CD, this was recorded in one room, without separation, or without headphones that allowed the three to interact in a more natural fashion.

The music consists of originals by Cohen with interpretations of tunes by Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Don Cherry and Ornette Coleman. Cohen is hot right from the start on his Safety Land, with some fiery playing and both Avital and Waits solo in the middle of the performance.  He exhibits his wonderful ballad approach on Nov. 30, which is dedicated to his mother. Cohen mixes his bright tone and fiery passages with smears and judicious use of mutes. While on Nov. 30, his playing is in the vein of Miles Davis, on the rendition of Willow Weep For Me, and his original Get Blue, he plays in a bluesy gutbucket fashion that evokes Bubba Miley and Cootie Williams. 

There are two marvelous interpretations of Ornette Coleman compositions, the lively Music News and the swinging Follow the Sound. One of these tunes was not previously recorded and Coleman taught it to Cohen in Cohen’s apartment. Other tunes here come from the pens of Charles Mingus and Don Cherry (the closing Art Deco which is an alternate take of a performance on the earlier disc). 

Cohen’s brilliant playing is so well supported throughout and the interplay between him, Avital and Waits stands out as much as their individual contributions, resulting in the imaginative and terrific playing that make Triveni II the superlative recording and one of the finest recent recordings I have heard.

I received a review copy from a publicist. Here is Avishai Cohen and Triveni at WBGO-FM.

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