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Avishai Cohen's 'Continuo'

Avishai Cohen’s ‘Continuo’

 
Jan-Mikael’s EARS: Review: “Continuo by Avishai Cohen
Avishai Cohen's 'Continuo'

Avishai Cohen’s ‘Continuo’

Evaluation:

A stunning combination of jazz, middle-eastern and world music, tinged with a poignant classicism…

Analysis:

Bassist Avishai Cohen’s latest disc brims with unbridled, if not slavish, devotion to the pursuit of compositional excellence. Much like Bill Bruford and Ralph Towner’s ‘If Summer Had its Ghosts’ from a few years ago, ‘Continuo’ presents compositions that have a melancholy, wistful feel, counterbalanced with lush arrangements that utilize the eclectic instrument’s ranges deftly, creating cinematic beds that allow the melodicism to permeate the listener’s subconscious…

Cohen provides plenty of room for Amos Hoffman to dazzle on the oud (not an instrument usually associated with jazz, but here presented in a context that lends credo to the adage that often the uninvited guest provides the best company…) and also features Sam Barsh to stunning effect on piano…Cohen understands the effect of restraint as a soloist, instead focusing on ensemble harmony, often assuming a subservient role…a worthy trait for a leader…despite his prowess on upright and fretless electric basses…

Drummer Mark Guiliana is sympathetic, practicing the subtle art of time-keeping, only venturing into bombast where absolutely appropriate.

All of this would matter little if the compositions themselves were unremarkable, but it is precisely here that Cohen is most eloquent. He has a penchant for Romanticism, which when combined with his ability to find and emphasize the median between eastern and western harmonies, reveals a truly moving lyricism along with a playful elegance that I found beguiling…

Rating: 10+/10 (the plus is for choosing the oud and, more importantly, giving it room as a solo vehicle…)

Summary:

Hauntingly beautiful, gregarious and harmonically challenging, Avishai Cohen’s ‘Continuo’ transcends technique and training to produce truly moving music….

 

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