At Home | SSC 4602 | Release Date: 22nd Feb 2005
“At Home” from Avishai Cohen
Trio & Ensemble
At Home, Avishai Cohen’s sixth recording as a leader, features eleven profoundly beautiful compositions performed by his trio of Sam Barsh on piano and Mark Guiliana on drums, joined by special guests Yosvany Terry,
Anne Drummond, Diego Urcola and Jeff Ballard
“From the seductive looping theme of Feediop . . . and the lovely, carol-like melody of Madrid, the folk-dance theme and percussive intensity of Leh-Lah, and on through furious piano improvisations [from Sam Barsh] against Mark Guiliana’s fat-in-a-pan drumming (Punk), wistful brass harmonies and airy flute ruminations (Meditteranean Sun), the music is consistently riveting, but without eclipsing the ingenuity of the improvisers. Avishai Cohen is back… ” John Fordham, The Guardian (UK)
On At Home Avishai is joined by two rising stars on the international music scene, Sam Barsh (piano, Hammond B3, Fender Rhodes, Melodica) and Mark Guiliana (drums, percussion), and is joined on several tracks by the ensemble of Yosvany Terry (saxophones, chekere), Anne Drummond (flute), Diego Urcola (flugelhorn), Jeff Ballard (drums, percussion) and Tomer Tzur (hand drum).
At Home reflects on, and celebrates, places, people, emotions and realizations that Cohen has encountered in his many sojourns around the globe, all the while exposing the innermost jubilation and contemplation of the bassist/composer. Stuart Nicholson, commenting on At Home, in Jazzwise Magazine, said “for my money [it’s] the most considered and best realised of all.” Indeed, Cohen exposes his many gifts as a melodic composer, powerful soloist and provoking leader, as never before, reflected in the brilliant performances by the trio and ensemble. Whether in his adopted home of New York City, in his native Israel, or on the road playing this music (where he finds himself much of each year), Avishai Cohen is At Home.
Avishai Cohen – Acoustic and Electric Bass
Sam Barsh – Piano, Hammond Organ, Fender Rhodes, Melodica
Mark Guilliana – Drums, Percussion
Yosvany Terry – Saxaphones, Chekere
Anne Drummond – Flute
Diego Urcola – Flugelhorn
Jeff Ballard – Drums/Percussion
Tomer Tzur – Hand Drum
DOUBLE BASSIST MAGAZINE. NO 32.
At Home review by JK.
Avishai Cohen Trio & Ensemble.
Razdaz Recordz SSC4602
At Home is Israeli double bassist Avishai Cohen’s second album under his own record label and his sixth release as leader to date. Like its predecessor, Lyla , At Home brings together some of Cohen’s many musical influences, and experiences as bandleader, collaborator and composer in the jazz, pop and world music spheres. The result is an album that is simultaneously intelligent, technically impressive and ‘grooveable’ – and positively brimming with fresh ideas.
The album’s 11 original compositions reference the varied and diverse worlds of jazz, soul, funk and even progressive rock (think Rush and Yes). Latin jazz influences are revealed in the pieces, abrupt interludes, section changes and breakaways. The result is an album that stimulates the mind from all directions. Cohen’s fascination with polyrhythms, all- band stop-time figures and other complex time meters is evident on almost every track. However, he’s not afraid to break the rhythm down to a vamp with a simple bass figure when he so desires, giving rise to some breathtaking solos and earthy, soulful moments which are uncommon in such academically well trained and technically superior groups.
Cohen,s playing lives up to his fantastic, right in the pocket standard, although this time with a good helping of grease. At Home is gratifying on just about every artistic level and is a master musician’s new and energetic rendering of what improvised music can be. JK.
A recent On Line UK JAZZ SITE JazzViews.
034 – January 2005
Artist Avishai Cohen
Title At Home Label RAZDAZ SSC4602
Avishai Cohen: Acoustic and Electric Bass; Mark Guiliana: Drums and percussion; Barsh: Piano Hammond Organ, Fender Rhodes Melodica
Avishai Cohen is unique and so is this music. It would take a musicologist to delineate all the influences that suffuse the pieces. This is a kind of Mediterranean jazz imbued with a unique sensibility.
“Music from the land of Israel, from the land of the Middle East. Early Eastern European, Middle Eastern scales and rhythms that have a linear sound or a modal thing, simplicity of chords, triads carve a very defined mood with out extensions and additions.” That was how Avishai described the music in the interview that I did with him. It could sound intimidating but the music is not.
Try the beauty of “Remembering” and listening to that you will hear the two young men who make the trio the sympathetic, tight drumming from Mark Guiliana and Barsh carrying the insidious melody.
Madrid is more muscular and besides showing the powerful melodic gifts the track gives a glimpse into Avishai’s roots.
Listen to the closely harmonised flugel horn and flute in Mediterranean Sun. Take in those rhythms and you will appreciate the variety of mood and influences that this remarkable musician brings to the music.
The work as a sideman in the past has only hinted at what this remarkable subtle player and composer could achieve. Now with “At Home” we can see that Avishai could well be embarked on a journey that will carry us on with him.
“Music speaks better than words”, Avishai says on the sleeve. He is right and the CD is proof.
Reviewed by Jack Kenny
America’s Jazz Magazine
CD Reviews from the June 2005 issue
At Home (Razdaz/Sunnyside)
Since his solo debut seven years ago, bassist Avishai Cohen has been honing a global strain of modern jazz that places primacy on rhythm. The second release on his Razdaz label is no exception, and furthers Cohen’s stature as a resourceful bandleader with a broad command of groove.
At Home introduces a rhythm section that Cohen has helmed for the past few years; their seamless exchange provides the album’s beating heart. Pianist/organist Sam Barsh confidently juggles a host of duties, tossing off solos with aplomb that mirrors Cohen’s own. Drummer Mark Guiliana supplies a battery of grooves, ranging from the breakbeat of ‘Renouf’s Last Tooth’ to the backbeat of ‘Saba.’
If this sounds less like a jazz date than a world-funk-fusion outing, that’s partly true. But the tension between composition and improvisation animates most of the album’s 11 tracks-especially those that feature trumpeter Diego Urcola, saxophonist Yosvany Terry, flutist Anne Drummond and percussionists Jeff Ballard and Tomer Tzur. The full ensemble’s pining on ‘Madrid’ sets up a judicious tag-team between Drummond and Terry. ‘Gershon Beat’ augments Cohen’s percussive ostinato with an evocative horn overlay.
– Nate Chinen
Avishai Cohen Trio & Ensemble | Razdaz Records
By Terrell Kent Holmes
The title of bassist Avishai Cohen’s latest CD, At Home, is a double entendre. Given the diverse geographical titles and styles of the songs, it’s clear that Cohen wants to convey the notion that he’s at home everywhere, musically and geographically. The core of the work centers on his trio, but it also includes a fine ensemble of musicians on other cuts to expand its range which flows from Cohen’s relentless pizzicato.
The dynamic “Feediop” opens the show, with Cohen pumping the tempo and Yosvany Terry shimmering on soprano sax. Sam Barsh plays a lush, flowing piano solo while drummer Mark Guiliana keeps the pulsing vibe going. “Madrid” expands the playing field for the first time, including newcomers Anne Drummond and Tomer Tzur on flute and hand drum, respectively, plus Diego Urcola on flugelhorn and Jeff Ballard on percussion. The ensemble continues on the African-influenced “Leh-Lah,” a splendidly arranged tune where Barsh augments his piano with a melodica and Terry plays chekere.
“Renouf’s Last Tooth” is a tour de force, with Cohen’s percolating bass, Barsh’s dazzling piano work, and Guiliana’s impassioned thrashing on the drums. Then there’s the delicate, symphonic brass/wind combo on “Gershon Beat,” where Cohen again plucks front and center. The lamenting, dolorous, slow trio piece “No Words” is followed up immediately by the uptempo “Punk (DJN),” which features more excellent piano by Barsh. On the funk excursion gem “Saba,” Cohen picks up the electric ax and Barsh plays the organ. This tune unfolds gradually from the deliberate theme and the tension builds up to a vibrant burst of colors. Cohen practically sings through his guitar, Barsh growls, Guiliana hammers the drums, and Terry plays more wicked soprano. Cohen wrote or co-wrote all of the songs here, and the excellent arrangements and wonderful playing make At Home a feast for the ears.
CD Review Center.
Avishai Cohen: At Home (Razdaz)
Definitely one of the most original recordings of the year. Jerusalem-born Cohen, who rose to prominence in groups led by Danilo Perez and Chick Corea, has evolved into one of the more imaginative composers on the jazz scene, usually leading groups of talented musicians like himself. Rarely does one find a mismatch of conception and execution on At Home. His core trio includes pianist Sam Barsh and drummer Mark Guiliana performing such pieces as Renouf’s Last Tooth, while his ensemble (with Yosvany Terry on saxophone, flautist Anne Drummond, flugelhornist Diego Arcola, and percussionist Jeff Ballard and Tomer Tzur) thrill with numbers such as Mediterranean Sun.
Issue 16 February 2005. wwwdrummer-mag.com
Avishai Cohen Trio and Ensemble.
At Home. ***** 5/5
Razdaz Recordz SSC4602.
Avishai Cohen’s latest release opens with the infectious melodic twists of ‘Feediop’ and demonstrates the unity between Cohen, drummer Mark Guiliana, and Pianist Sam Barsh, the core trio at the heart of the CD. Cohen’s music has always mixed his Israeli roots with jazz and other genres,thus giving it a very unique quality.
Guiliana brings his drum and bass/dance leanings into the equation,paticulary on the fantastic ‘Renoufs Last Tooth’, making the recipe even more mouth-watering.
Melody,musicality ,dynamics, diversity and great compositions:
This is definitely the sort of record that could give jazz a good name.
March 24-March 31, 2005
Avishai Cohen is at home
by David Kirby
God is a bass player, we used to think. Or at the very least He bears special kinship with the mortals who take up the instrument, balancing technique and composition, the thankless heavy lifting of holding up a jazz combo’s elusive rhythmic bottom while still shading the proceedings with harmony and subversive melodic intent. Perhaps He can relate to finding just the right notes, rendered just so, in the dim glow just outside the spotlight.
You may not hear Avishai Cohen, the Israeli-born double-bassist, cutting a singular swathe through contemporary jazz these days, invoking the satisfaction of the Almighty as a motivating force. But you’ll hear him rise confidently to the challenges set forth by the instrument—bandleader, composer, instrumentalist, conceptualizer—on At Home, the bassist’s sixth CD as a leader, and first since departing a seven-year gig as an original member of Chick Corea’s Origin band.
Cohen’s technical sleight of hand ranges from fiendishly complex, as on the scalar workout “Renouf’s Last Tooth” and off-time filigrees gracing the nervous “Punk (DJN),” to languid and relaxed post-bop chordal sentences on the buoyant “Feediop” and a supple, folk-inspired line through the gorgeous “Madrid.” We tell Cohen during a phone interview that the latter is probably our favorite on the CD, an elegant and fluent expression of whimsy in a language strangely familiar.
“That one comes from an old tune that my dad used to sing to me on Friday evenings, an old Sephardic, Jewish folk tune,” says Cohen. “I took the main melody and added some Latin influence, some Turkish and Morrocan sounds, and it all came out as a simple melody.
“My thing is, I’m lucky to have been surrounded by so many different influences,” he continues. “I love Latin music, Afro-Cuban jazz, rhumba, salsa. It’s a big part of who I am.”
Cohen divided his youth between years in the United States and his native Israel, and once settled in New York, he started gigging with pianist Brad Melhdau and Ray Santiago. His fluency in Latin rhythms brought him to the attention of Panamanian pianist Danilo Perez, with whom he recorded Panamonk in 1996. Chick Corea, one of jazz music’s most famously prodigious assimilators of straight jazz and Latin musical forms, tapped Cohen for what would become the bassist’s dream day job.
“I loved the challenge of working with Chick; it will always be a major part of my career, absolutely,” says Cohen. “It wasn’t just the music itself. It was the way that he attracts players to make music of the highest order.”
We ask what he learned about being a bandleader working with Corea.
“You have to create the right environment for players, you have to give them a place where they can play and express themselves to the greatest of their ability,” says Cohen. “The human quality is so important. The players have to feel commitment to the music. Trane and Miles did that. Chick also. The music is important, certainly, but the human element is just as important.”
Like many kids, Cohen came to bass playing through the electric. We ask if it were true, as we read somewhere, that he took to transcribing Jaco Pastorius solos during his formative years.
“Yes, I had a teacher who brought in an album and played it for me,” he says. “The sound that he made, and his playing, really opened my eyes. It just took me on a trip. Of course, I bought the record and analyzed every piece of it.
“I still take the electric with me. I’ve actually been playing it a lot lately,” he continues. “I’ve been invited to play a tribute gig for Jaco this coming June. I’m excited since I’ve never done something like this before. I’m planning to transcribe one of his tunes on the standup.”
So, no purist, neocon stodginess about graduating from electric to standup?
“No, no. Not at all,” says Cohen. “The harmonica is a serious instrument; the ukulele is a serious instrument—anything can be a serious instrument if it’s what you fancy and you commit yourself to it. You have to find your own voice, your own instrument. I play acoustic now. I think I found my instrument.”
The Santa Fe New Mexican (New Mexico)
March 25, 2005 Friday
SECTION: PASATIEMPO; Pg. PA-24
AVISHAI COHEN At Home (Sunnyside Records) The mood on the new, elegantly produced album by Israel-born bassist/composer Avishai Cohen is altogether cool and jazzy. The core group is Cohen’s trio with pianist/organist Sam Barsh and drummer Mark Guiliana, which handles half of the CD’s material — songs ranging from the simple statement “No Words” to the hard-driving “Punk (DJN)” and the evocative “Remembering,” which features a lovely and dynamic solo by Cohen against a delicate rhythmic background by Guiliana playing exclusively on cymbals.
On several tracks Cohen taps the talents of saxophonist Yosvany Terry, flugelhornist Diego Urcola, and percussionist Jeff Ballard, who have played with him on previous outings. Flutist Anne Drummond and percussionist Tomer Tzur also contribute. Terry contributes a sparkling solo on the opener, “Feediop,” a rich tune that’s quirked out by a schizy little rhythm acceleration within the main phrase. Cohen, as is his wont, weaves Middle Eastern themes into his jazz. He does it effectively on “Leh-Lah,” the main subject played by Barsh on melodica against a scattering chekere rhythm by Terry, and on “Mediterranean Sun.” The trio plugs in for “Saba,” the leader on electric bass trading energies with Barsh on organ…
The album closes with the stately hymn “Toledo,” played by the basic trio on acoustic instruments.
The Lexington Herald Leader
March 18, 2005 Friday
WEEKENDER; Pg. 6
At Home CD
Cohen is an Israeli-born bassist who, despite a lengthy jazz dossier, came to prominence through work in the late ’90s bands of Chick Corea. While more streamlined than his preceding solo albums, At Home boasts a luminous compositional base that generously spotlights-pianist Sam Barsh on Feediop and the more quietly melancholic Leh-Lah. But Cohen gets in plenty of his own licks on a beefy acoustic skirmish that introduces Renouf’s Last Tooth and the more playfully percussive Gershon Beat. Splashes of Cohen’s subtle electric basswork also spice up Saba. An immensely listenable indie-jazz delight.
THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT
Cohen’s home is where the music is
By Alexander Varty
Publish Date: 23-Feb-2006
Avishai Cohen’s new CD is called At Home, but it’s a great thing to hear on the road, as I recently found out during a daylong drive down the length of Vancouver Island. At first, my curiosity was all business: I was due to interview the Israeli bassist the next day, and wanted to spin his latest effort a couple of times before picking up the phone. Somewhat to my surprise, the disc never left the car stereo; I must have played it five times through without ever getting bored.
At first, I thought drummer Mark Giuliana was the key to At Home’s success. Appropriately enough, he’s a driving percussionist; even when he’s simply skittering around the cymbals, as he does on Cohen’s meditative “Remembering”, he plays with a captivating sense of forward motion, an implicit yet attention-getting pulse. On more upbeat material like “Feediop”, which opens At Home with a melodic line so syncopated you might think the CD’s skipping, he digs into the beat with such intensity that it sounds like he’s got four hands.
Giuliana’s one of the most creative new jazz drummers I’ve heard in a decade, and Cohen is in complete agreement with that assessment. “Yeah, he’s extraordinary,” says the bassist, reached at a Paterson, New Jersey, hotel. “He’s an up-and-coming voice in drums.”
Keyboardist Sam Barsh—who’ll join Cohen and Giuliana at the Norman Rothstein Theatre on Sunday and Monday (February 26 and 27), as part of the Chutzpah! festival—is an equally impressive musician, whether he’s playing piano, organ, melodica, or the ring-modulated electronics that add extraterrestrial overtones to At Home’s “Renouf’s Last Tooth”. Even the album’s guests—saxophonist Yosvany Terry, flutist Anne Drummond, flügelhornist Diego Urcola, percussionist Tomer Tzur, and drummer Jeff Ballard—buy into the trio’s crisp-and-clear aesthetic, delivering impassioned performances.
“When I write music, I just write whatever’s emotionally going through me at the moment…but I am lucky, though, in that I’m always surrounded by musicians who take my music and interpret it in such a way that you feel like it was written for them,” Cohen explains.
Once Cohen moved to New York City in 1996, it didn’t take long for Chick Corea to get word. The bassist played with the legendary pianist on a regular basis for several years, and Corea’s penchant for sonic detail and Latinate time signatures seems to have rubbed off on him. But the 35-year-old Israeli’s formative influences go far beyond the music he encountered after leaving his native country for the U.S.
“At home in Israel, my mom used to listen to a lot of classical music,” he points out. “That always caught my ear and I think it just got in me. And then I was just listening to radio and a lot of other influences from being in the Middle East and being exposed to many different cultures.”
A variety of exotic sounds find expression in such At Home tunes as the speedy, polyrhthymic “Leh-Lah”, with its sinuous melodica and raucous vocal chorus, and “Mediterranean Sun”, which boasts a percussive, flamenco-inspired bass line and honeyed melodic flourishes. And the polyglot styles Cohen heard in Jerusalem are going to become an even bigger part of his musical repertoire, if his plans for his next CD are any indication.
“It’s like a continuation of At Home, in that it’s mainly the trio,” he says of Continuo, which he’s just recorded in New York. “But the trio is joined on half of the record by Amos Hoffman, an oud player. Once again, there are some Middle Eastern–influenced themes, and I wanted to enhance them through his very beautiful playing.”
Continuo should be on shelves by this fall—and if Cohen, Barsh, and Giuiliana play as well on the road as they do on At Home, they’ll have many new admirers waiting.