Sunday, February 21, 2010

Avishai Cohen Trio - Gently Disturbed (Razdaz, 2008)


For this album bass-wizard Avishai Cohen teamed up with pianist Shai Maestro and drummer Mark Guiliana to make some of the most exciting music in his career. Eleven tunes, most of them written by Cohen himself, were recorded as a live setting in the studio. The music is very intense and has a lot of classical and eastern influences. Shai Maestro studied both classical, which explains his lyricism and true feel for melody and dynamics, and jazz piano. Cohen also has a passion for classical music, primarily citing a lot of classical composers as his main influences on myspace.


1. Seattle (Cohen)
2. Chutzpan (Cohen)
3. Lo Baiom Velo Balyla (Traditional)
4. Pinzin Kinzin (Cohen/Maestro/Guiliana)
5. Puncha Puncha (Traditional)
6. Eleven Wives (Cohen/Maestro/Guiliana)
7. Gently Disturbed (Cohen)
8. The Ever Evolving Etude (Cohen)
9. Variations In G Minor (Cohen)
10. Umray (Cohen)
11. Structure In Emotion (Cohen)
Total playing time: 56:46

Cohen is quite an extraordinary bass player; plucking and bending the strings, thus creating a nice, warm, full bass sound. He really nailed all the techniques, there’s nothing he can’t do while playing bass. He uses a lot of fast, skilled playing during the more intense moments to create a bombastic atmosphere. He even uses arco at the beginning of The Ever Evolving Etude.
Some of his tunes sound really ‘out’, creating a funky song fused with western and eastern influences.

Shai Maestro has this natural feel for great phrases. It’s something you can’t explain, but he has it. Watch out, this pianist is going to surprise us in the (near) future. His playing has a lot of dynamics, something I really miss in some jazz recordings. Shai Maestro has it all: speed, technique, feel, … He’s a real genius (did you know he used to combine classical and jazz studies with his regular studies?).

According to Modern Drummer Magazine, New-Jersey based drummer Mark Guiliana “may well be at the forefront of an exciting new style of drumming.” His sound on the recording is quiet and peaceful, yet exciting at the same time. His brush-based style doesn’t overshadow Maestro’s lyricism and Cohen’s full sound. His cymbal flattering creates an even more dreamy atmosphere around Maestro’s piano playing. His sticks take the music to an intense climax.


My 2008 number one, Cohen’s most shiny gem so far, another highly recommended record. If you are looking for music where east meets west with great melodies and dynamics, then is this a good record to start with.



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