Avishai Cohen — „Two Roses“ (April 16, 2021)
⊕⇒ „Samozřejmě, 80 lidí nebude hrát rytmus jako dva nebo tři lidé. Je tu určitá setrvačnost, na kterou si musíte zvyknout, a musíte pochopit, jak dýchají. Je to jako kůň, najednou krásný, silný a jemný.“ Nejprve vyšel singl Arab Medley (5. března), později singl When I’m Falling (19. března). Celé album o měsíc později. „Některé písně, které jsou na nahrávce, se datují stovky let a vracejí vás zpět v čase. Poslouchat písně jako „Morenika“ nebo „Puncha Puncha“ je jako sledovat film, přepínat období, nacházet se v době, kdy nic není stejné,“ poznamenává Cohen. Rozvíjení dvou růží v několika ohledech připomíná soundtrack epického filmu, který je občas zbarvený nostalgií, nesený jinde hektickou a zářivou energií. Tato nahrávka uniká stylistickým rozdílům a nabízí se jako celek. V albu „Two Roses“ se počítá pouze s výkonem, emocemi a osobním projevem světoobčana, který považuje hudbu za svou jedinou pravou domovinu.
⊕⇒ Many musicians dream of making a record with a symphony orchestra, but few can afford to make it a reality. Thanks to an extraordinary ability to compose melodies that take root in his listeners’ minds and because he has, for years, patiently performed these compositions on stage to the point where they are practically a part of him, Avishai Cohen was well~positioned to execute such an ambition. As Cohen himself notes, his songs seem predisposed to adaptation at an orchestral scale, and the fact that they retain the same intensity that has provoked such widespread admiration demonstrates the vigor of his music.
⊕ Avishai Cohen had been dreaming of this experience for over a decade. Two Roses is the result of a long process, with his trio and his collaboration with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Hanson, Cohen proves that this foray into classical music was not a passing whim but rather a sincere expression of his desire to remain free from the boundaries of “genre” — a term he admits to loathing.
Cohen’s music is an intricate tapestry of global and historical influence. A master of Afro~Caribbean music, Cohen has absorbed its complexity to the point that it has had an enduring impact on the rhythmic designs he creates for his trio, and a lasting effect on his musical contemporaries. “Playing and singing one’s own music with a symphony orchestra is something special, it’s an experience that is as strong as it is specific,” says Cohen.
⊕ Cohen did not embark on this adventure alone. His trusted trio includes two musicians for whom he is full of praise. Azerbaijani pianist Elchin Shirinov, who appeared on Cohen’s previous record, Arvoles, plays with lyricism and clarity. And New Jersey — native drummer Mark Guiliana, with whom Cohen revolutionized the trio’s approach in the 2000s, protects the groove and rhythmic sharpness specific to Cohen’s music. And of course, there are the 92 talented women and men of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.
⊕ “An orchestra has its own rhythm,” he explains. “Of course, 92 people won’t play a beat like two or three people would. There’s a kind of inertia, which you have to get used to, and you have to understand how they breathe. It’s like a horse, at once beautiful, powerful and delicate. “When you listen to this record, it feels like embracing a journey, entering my world, in a deeper and denser way,” he says.
⊕ On Two Roses, the only things that count are performance, emotion and the personal expression of a citizen of the world who sees music as his only true homeland.
Born: in Kabri, Israel on April 20th, 1970
Location: Tel Aviv
Album release: April 16 2021
Record Label: Naïve / Believe
01. Almah Sleeping 3:59
02. When I’m Falling 3:52
03. Song For My Brother 4:45
04. Two roses (Shei Shoshanim) 4:25
05. Nature Boy 4:34
06. Emotional Storm 7:14
07. Puncha Puncha 6:24
08. Arab Medley 5:18
09. A Child Is Born 8:35
10. Alon Basela 4:55
11. Morenika 4:11
12. Nature Talking 4:16
⊕ Avishai Cohen: bass; Mark Guiliana: drums; Elchin Shirinov: piano.
⊕ Avishai Cohen: vocals; acoustic bass, electric bass; minimoog synthesizer; Gothenberg Symphony Orchestra Conducted By Alexander Hansen.
By DAN McCLENAGHAN ⌊April 7, 2021⌋ Score: ★★★★
⊕⇒ Avishai Cohen dreamed big, with images of symphony orchestras dancing in his head. The Israeli~born bassist maneuvered that dream into a reality with Two Roses, a recording that finds Cohen in the company of the ninety~two piece Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, in addition to his jazz cohorts, Azerbaijani pianist Elchin Shirinov and New Jersey born and bred drummer Mark Guiliana.
⊕⇒ Eleven of the tunes presented here, in this lush landscape, come from Cohen’s pen. The title piece is a popular tune from Cohen’s homeland. “A Child Is Born” comes from the Thad Jones Songbook, and “Nature Boy” is the familiar Eben Ahbez tune, recorded by everyone from Miles Davis to Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughn, John Coltrane, Zoot Sims and many more.
⊕⇒ The majestic, sweeping scope of this music suggests Cohen as a nominee for the “Aaron Copland of World” Music Award, as the bassist brings to the table influences which span the globe — Afro~Caribbean music, melodies of Israeli folklore, Middle Eastern motifs, North African tinges and hints of Slavic and Russian shadings, all intertwined to create its own unique multicultural listening experience.
⊕⇒ With a beautiful and implacable grandeur in the embrace of a collective momentum of eighty~plus players — including Cohen’s occasional “every man of the world” vocals (he sounds like a nondenominational priest singing some kind of jazz Mass) — the music could serve as a soundtrack to a grand epic of Cecil B. DeMille proportions, the orchestra at times delicate and fragile, at others powerful and momentous, and always profound.
BY BASS MAGAZINE·FEB 10, 2021:
SERENADE TEAM·MARCH 3, 2021: