May 25, 2024

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CD review: Avishai Cohen – Big Vicious 2020: Video, CD cover

Trumpeter/composer Avishai Cohen gives another solid step toward innovation with the consistent group he formed six years ago, after moving back from the US to his native Israel. The eclectic album, Big Vicious, is the successor to the duo recording Playing The Room and marks his fourth outing on the reliable ECM imprint.

The electro-acoustic ensemble, which includes two drummers, delivers a program of nine originals and two covers. Despite their backgrounds in jazz, these open-minded artists experiment with different sonic flavors and the outcome is more than satisfactory.

The album was recorded in the Tel Aviv studio of musician/producer Yuvi Havkin, known in the artistic world as Rejoicer. He collaborated with the group in the writing of three of the 11 pieces – they are “Honey Fountain”, whose suave electronic vibes stress a trance-like bass in plain communion with the drums, with softly sculpted trumpet melodies soaring together with a spacious, effect-drenched guitar; “Fractals”, whose moody electronic experiments threaten to end up in a trippy techno party; and “Teno Neno”, a well-designed shapeshifter that involves phaser-effect washes, suspensions, and an unhurried beat. Speaking of beat, “This Time It’s Different” has that funkified clubjazz groove that makes you wanna jump.

Avishai, alone, penned four tunes and his penchant for the rock genre is on display in pieces such as “Hidden Chamber”, where you can picture a crossing between the goth rock of The Cure and the cool jazz of Miles Davis; and “King Kutner”, whose punkish feel, in salutation to The Pixies, is cemented with Ramirez’s subversive guitar chops –  sometimes rugged, sometimes bluesy. In turn, “The Things You Tell Me” relies on a layered art rock bolstered with folk connotations à-la Robert Wyatt, while the dreamy “Intent” haunts the listener with mysterious ambient textures.

The Cow & The Calf” boasts some of the trip-hop charisma of Portishead and a strong singable chorus, but stays one step behind of the incredible rendition of Massive Attack’s hit “Teardrop”. The group also probes ways of bringing new light into Beethoven’s classical music by dissecting his “Moonlight Sonata” according to their own methods.


1. Honey Fountain (4:34)
2. Hidden Chamber (4:43)
3. King Kutner (4:10)
4. Moonlight Sonata (5:30)
5. Fractals (3:33)
6. Teardrop (7:25)
7. The Things You Tell Me (3:12)
8. This Time It’s Different (3:20)
9. Teno Neno (6:04)
10. The Cow & The Calf (3:55)
11. Intent (4:03)

Avishai Cohen – Trumpet
Johnathan Albalak – Guitar/Bass
Uzi Feinerman – Guitar
Aviv Cohen – Drums
Ziv Ravitz – Drums

Avishai Cohen - Big Vicious — JazzTrail | NY Jazz Scene | Album ...

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