Avishai Cohen trio, Ronnie Scott’s, London

The last show of the bassist Avishai Cohen trio’s latest Ronnie Scott’s residency: this late night set was the first time I’d heard him with his new trio, Azerbaijani pianist Elchin Shirinov and an old school mate of Cohen’s, drummer Noam David. It …

Published: 8 Nov 2019. Updated: 8 months.

The last show of the bassist Avishai Cohen trio’s latest Ronnie Scott’s residency: this late night set was the first time I’d heard him with his new trio, Azerbaijani pianist Elchin Shirinov and an old school mate of Cohen’s, drummer Noam David.

It is a tough gig for any musician keeping up with Cohen given the extraordinary level of technique and power the former Chick Corea bassist brings to the table, and while David was more than up to the challenge and provided his own fireworks I thought Shirinov took a while to settle. But when he did his rapport with Cohen was pretty clear and the gig really caught fire.

Playing new music which the trio have been recording recently, often shaped around a tiny folkloric figure often rising up from the piano, there were no tune titles provided at all throughout and it was only in the encore when prompted by a heckler and when Cohen sang a beautiful version of Mercedes Sosa’s ‘Alfonsina y El Mar’ that the gig touched on the more familiar given that this gem has been in Cohen’s repertoire for many years.

Cohen has incredible speed at his disposal but more than this it is the way he curls rhythms away from the places you expect them to land that continually surprises and provides such delight. SG Frith Street above. Photo, marlbank

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2019 Highlight: Avishai Cohen, Yonathan Avishai, Playing the Room, ECM

A few duo albums this year have stirred my imagination. The first was a saxophone-piano duo which was the work of Mark Lockheart and Huw Warren and now this ''Avishai & Avishai'' piano-trumpet duet is primus inter pares. Recorded in Lugano a …

Published: 8 Nov 2019. Updated: 7 months.

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A few duo albums this year have stirred my imagination. The first was a saxophone-piano duo which was the work of Mark Lockheart and Huw Warren and now this ''Avishai & Avishai'' piano-trumpet duet is primus inter pares.

Recorded in Lugano a year ago this is I would describe an album of impressionism grounded in modality but at the freer end even when in terms of exuberance and “wildness” it mostly abstains and yet journeys to the soul of things via a kind of blueness.

Cohen has a lonesome faraway quality while pianist Avishai who disappointed for me anyway on Joys and Solitudes released at the beginning of 2019 is wonderful, no two ways about it, here. I have long since added Playing the Room to my albums of the year list so far. Above all … Room works because of its mastery of mood.

The choice of piece whether a take on a Stevie Wonder classic or the Sasha Argov composition ‘Shir Eres’ covered in the past memorably by Noa is immaterial up to a point because as well as mood, rapport, the capturing of time and silence – and the understanding each display as the tunes navigate their passage – is all.