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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Avishai Cohen - Flood (Anzic, 2008) ****

This is the second part of trumpeter Avishai Cohen's "Big Rain" trilogy, and it is better than the previous one, for one simple reason : increased simplicity. There were first of all more musicians on "After The Big Rain", but also more musical influences. On "Flood", we hear a trio, with Yonathan Avishai on piano and Daniel Friedman on percussion, with a more limited focus of influence, and more coherence in the delivery. There are still references to Don Cherry, especially on "Heavy Water" and "Nature's Dance", highly rhythmic pieces with African roots, but also more meditative and melancholy moments, reminiscent of Enrico Rava, despite the obvious middle-eastern angle. Cohen's velvety sound mixes well with Avishai's romantic piano approach and Friedman's restrained yet functional percussion. There is not much adventurousness on this album, yet that's clearly not the objective of this trio, the focus is on mood, and emotional expressiveness. It is romantic, yet it stays on the tasteful side of sentimentality, demonstrating that great musicianship should not be shy to move into more emotional territory.

© stef