Avishai Cohen - progressive jazz WOW

Ok I'm sure I'm late to the show (just found out about this guy this past weekend from a jazz bass player) but holy shit at the bass player Avishai Cohen!!! I'm a total music theory/prog music nut, so to hear this stuff just kills me in the best way possible. So much "new" jazz/bebop/etc bores me to death, so to hear some new "good" stuff (to my ears of course) is just incredible. Imagine Dave Brubeck V2.0...wow I wonder what Brubeck thought of Avishai Cohen.

Check this song out "Eleven Wives". OK music nerd theory time. It is in 11/8 meter. Long story short..it counts out this way:

123, 123, 123, 12

So imagine a normal 4/4 beat in 12/8 (123,223,323,423) but drop out that last 1/8 note triplet (which is incredibly hard to do). So you get 123, 223, 323, 42, 123, 232, 323, 42, etc.



Much like the saxophone player Paul Desmond "made" Dave Brubeck's music, I think the piano player in Avishai Cohen's band Nitai Hershkovits, makes the music for me. Simple straightforward harmonic structures without the crazy bullshit of too many outside harmonic notes to cluter the music (by just "showing off" playing crazy outside notes). Much like Brubeck and Vince Gurauldi would play.

I was trying to find something illustrative of his for the "Bass Gods" threads a while back, but youtube wasn't making me super happy with choices for those purposes. Thanks for sharing this jman, and especially for breaking down the sick rhythmic scheme to the first piece!

I think you're unnecessarily harsh on other jazz (and maybe you like Brubeck a whole lot more than I do, too) but... yeah, Cohen is disciplined and generally accessible and a good band leader in addition to the monster bassist he's known for being.

If I recall correctly, he first got noticed (and maybe did his first recording?) as a member of Kurt Rosenwinkel's band. Early on also with amazing pianist Danilo Perez, where he was a big part of "Panamonk" -- a really original "latinization" of Thelonious Monk music. Much bigger name recognition when he got the gig in Chick Corea's band (praise Xenu). He's been a very busy musician since then!

First Kurt Rosenwinkel record was 17 or 18 years ago, trio with Avishai Cohen and Jorge Rossy. I know you're not a Rosenwinkel fan, jman, and can see you being annoyed by the chorused tone, but this is an "uncluttered" Monk tune and I think his melodic improvising is pretty impressive. Still, this thread is a Cohen thread, and his tone and comping are really special, here, as is the bass solo that begins at 5:02.



Side note -- the tune is, or should be, called 'Round Midnight. When Miles Davis did it -- I don't know if he was the first or he was copying someone else's screw up -- it was "Round About Midnight". That seemed to stick for lots of folks.

I can't do the theory-nerd rhythm breakdown of this... one of the youtube comments tells me something I can neither confirm nor deny. But it's tricky and cool as hell:

Ali - I can't do the theory-nerd rhythm breakdown of this... one of the youtube comments tells me something I can neither confirm nor deny. But it's tricky and cool as hell:



 thecosmicrain 4 years ago





It's just 6/4, but then breaks up into 5/16+5/16+5/16+5/16+4/16? starting on the "e" of 2. Rhythm is amazing.





I can see the 6/4 but I don't have the patience to even try to hear the rest of that breakdown...I think I'd get a headache. Amazing stuff.



 



 

Ali - First Kurt Rosenwinkel record was 17 or 18 years ago, trio with Avishai Cohen and Jorge Rossy. I know you're not a Rosenwinkel fan, jman, and can see you being annoyed by the chorused tone, but this is an "uncluttered" Monk tune and I think his melodic improvising is pretty impressive. Still, this thread is a Cohen thread, and his tone and comping are really special, here, as is the bass solo that begins at 5:02.



Side note -- the tune is, or should be, called 'Round Midnight. When Miles Davis did it -- I don't know if he was the first or he was copying someone else's screw up -- it was "Round About Midnight". That seemed to stick for lots of folks.

Chorus tone doesn't bother me (might be Hugo?).

I liked Rosenthal's playing on this very nice.

As far as fancy chords and outside playing. I think there is great stuff out there, my ears just get tired of it after about 10 minutes or so. It's best when it is contrasted with inside and outside playing IMO.

Sorry I mistook your tonal palette -- I think it was a Scofield thing you were talking about the tone being annoying on, and probably for things other than his chorus. And Rosenwinkel is pretty clean on that one, really, even Hugo might like it! The young Cohen sounds very good to me, too, his lines are interesting and his rhythm an tone are a humongous rock that allows the ballad the be this delicate without getting weak.

jman - I can see the 6/4 but I don't have the patience to even try to hear the rest of that breakdown...I think I'd get a headache. Amazing stuff.


Yeah, you chased down the comment. The 6/4 itself (disregarding the rest of the breakdown) has such interesting shifting of accents, it really gives that "ever evolving" feeling, like it's morphing through different shapes. Glad you dug that tune, too. That one kills me. I haven't tried to keep the rhythm in either of them, but with the shifting of accents it seems this might take just as much crazy concentration as that weird count in 11 Wives.... Dunno. Either way, Cohen and Co. are pretty ridiculous on the rhythm front!


man, I don't know why I don't visit the soundground more often. I just saw this thread...huge fan of bassist Avishai Cohen.  I've had a chance to work with him a few times and he's brilliant.



I can't do any of the "theory-nerd rhythm breakdown ",as Ali put it, but I've seen Avishai perform at least 20 times. I don't believe that's Nitai Hershkovits in the vids of the OP, but rather Shai Maestro. I have not seen Avishai with Nitai, as he doesn't play in the US as much since he moved back to Israel. 



One of my favorite trios Avishai put together was drummer Mark Guiliana and pianist Sam Barsh. They recorded a weekend at the Blue Note that was put out on DVD. Jimmy Greene sat in, as well as Diego Urcola.  I was there for 2 of the 3 nights and it was a blast....



 



 



* edited to add that I found the performance..*



 



 

What is it you did when you worked with him? That's cool whatever it is.... esp if you played sax (just guessing 'cause of the Rahsaan avatar!)

Yes, please do come around the Soundground more!

soundoff71 - 


Thanks digthisbigcrux, ttt for later.



In what capacity did you work with Avishai?  



Didn't know he moved back to Israel.  Our loss, they guy's great.  



don't want to get too specific, as I fear that someone in my professional life one day will ask me what Hi KKM means, or why I LOL'd at a picture that stated "The OP is a Faggot"  (not you jman)



It was on the industry side of things..not the creative.



But yeah, I agree with you he's great. Not only is he equally adept on electric and upright, he's a very good pianist as well.



The first time I heard of him was in the mid  90's in a group called Plunge, as well as his contribution to Danilo Perez's Panamonk...then I checked out his stuff with Chick, which of course led to his dates as a leader on Chick's Concord imprint Stretch. It's his Sunnyside/RazDaz stuff that really floored me though

Ali - What is it you did when you worked with him? That's cool whatever it is.... esp if you played sax (just guessing 'cause of the Rahsaan avatar!)

Yes, please do come around the Soundground more!


Thanks, Ali....I will be stopping by here more. I always enjoy your contribution to music threads.

soundoff71 - 
digthisbigcrux - 
soundoff71 - 


Thanks digthisbigcrux, ttt for later.



In what capacity did you work with Avishai?  



Didn't know he moved back to Israel.  Our loss, they guy's great.  



don't want to get too specific, as I fear that someone in my professional life one day will ask me what Hi KKM means, or why I LOL'd at a picture that stated "The OP is a Faggot"  (not you jman)



It was on the industry side of things..not the creative.



But yeah, I agree with you he's great. Not only is he equally adept on electric and upright, he's a very good pianist as well.



The first time I heard of him was in the mid  90's in a group called Plunge, as well as his contribution to Danilo Perez's Panamonk...then I checked out his stuff with Chick, which of course led to his dates as a leader on Chick's Concord imprint Stretch. It's his Sunnyside/RazDaz stuff that really floored me though


LOL, no worries. Thanks for joining us. I don't know much about Avishai, & certainly didn't that he played electric bass or piano. I found out about him through a great doc that used to be on Netflix on Demand: "Icons Among Us: Jazz in the Present Tense". There's two version of the the doc. The one on Netflix runs just over 90 mins, & the deluxe version (which is where a lot of the clips in trailer above come from) is four discs, with live performances, etc.

If you haven't see the doc, check it out. Avishai pretty much starts out the 90 min version I saw. I would guess there are more performances in the deluxe version.


right on..that's a great flick.  I saw it a few years ago. I dig Olu Dara in the trailer....shit I dig Olu period. I turned on some youngsters I know to some of is music. They rolled eyes until I told them  that he was Nas' pops.....then they started listening.



 

swamped right now...but will try and remember. Didn't even realize he was a Scientologist.....ha.

Only other two I've heard about was Al DiMeola and of course, Chick

My "praise Xenu" quip on this thread was a reference to Chick.... not Avishai!

I read on Tony Ortega's blog today about Leah Remini doing an interpretive dance on Dancing With the Stars last night about getting free of the clam cult. And that is not relevant to this thread at all. I will say it does get in the way of my appreciation of Chick sometimes. Not all the time. And sometimes I just don't appreciate Chick anyway. But he always has great players in his bands, like Avishai.

See how I brought it back around? I don't always bother.... sorry.

On Olu Dara --
He didn't get around to making an album as a leader till very late, and then stopped at two as far as I know. They're decent, but very domesticated, I think. I first new him from Material and some other Bill Laswell productions he was being used on in the 80s.

One conert I got to see at S.O.B.'s in NYC was a "Black Rock Coalition" show, curated by Vernon Reid. Some ridiculously amazing people. Melvin Gibbs' band (Eye and I), Michael Hill's Blues Mob, Vernon Reid and Ronnie Drayton, a show-stopping solo set from Jean-Paul Bourelly.... it was really from strength to strength, thematically (mostly) "avant-blues". Olu Dara came out and just.... it was just clear he was The Boss of this whole gathering. I remember he did Joseph Spence's "Out On The Rolling Sea", sending out to find more vinyl. Of course Dara's version was nothing like what I could find of Spence...

Anyway, everything about it was mind-melting. And then years (MANY years) later, when the records as a leader came out, it still had some of that storyteller/griot thing going, some nice cornet work, and his okra fixation perfectly in place.... I was just disappointed. It sounded much more familiar (not because it was... it was just less individual).

Hoping there's more Dara to be found that lifts me off the ground the way he did that one night.