Avishai Cohen: First Drops


First Drops


Avishai Cohen (trumpet)


Flood (Anzic Records)

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Avishai Cohen (trumpet),

Yonatan Avishai (piano), Daniel Freedman (percussion)


Composed by Avishai Cohen


Recorded: Brooklyn, November 10, 2006


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

There are few harder things to pull off in jazz than the slow vamp. Unless maybe it is a trio project without a bass. Or perhaps writing an exciting jazz piece based on . . . water. But trumpeter Avishai Cohen attempts all three of these in this opening track from the second installment of The Big Rain. Give Cohen credit for pulling it off. This type of music-making takes extraordinary patience, and the trumpeter demonstrates it here. The performance builds slowly—trumpet doesn't even enter until the 2:30 mark. The piano sets the mood, with percussion providing querulous rejoinders in an austere dialogue. When Cohen descends from above, it is with a poignant dirge. He nudges the accompanists into a loose rhythmic pulse where a wave-like 3/4 begins to flow over the basic duple beat. Changes here happen at their own pace, organic and without ostentation. In the world of fiction, critics talk about the "psychological novel." I'm not sure whether there is such a thing as "psychological jazz," but if there is, this mature, introspective track would be on the playlist.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia


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