Posts Tagged ‘Avishai Cohen’

JAZZ 2K: Cyber Monday Edition

Monday, December 1st, 2014

CD reviews by J Hunter

I’ve always preferred Cyber Monday to Black Friday – less wounding and trampling, for one thing. And since you’re already searching for something to wrap around your loved one’s ears (that ISN’T a scarf or a wool hat), here are a few suggestions:

Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood: JuiceMEDESKI SCOFIELD MARTIN & WOOD
Juice
(Indirecto)
As the chunky Picasso brother once said, “That’s right, the party is back!” And you know it’s a party from the first chunka-chunka notes of Eddie Harris’ “Sham Time,” which opens MSMW’s delicious second studio effort. True, “effort” is kind of an overstatement, because John Scofield and Medeski Martin & Wood absolutely love making tasty jams together, like the grooving “Juicy Lucy” and the electric Afro-Cuban mix “Stovetop.” Though their reading of the Doors’ “Light My Fire” is pretty flat overall, MSMW more than make up for it with an epic ska reboot of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” and a touching, disc-closing take on Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A’ Changin’.” That hushed coda aside, move the furniture to the walls and get ready to dance!

Avishai Cohen's Triveni: Dark NightsAVISHAI COHEN’S TRIVENI
Dark Nights
(Anzic)
A trumpet trio should not be this deep, this dark, and this filthy stinking rich! And while Avishai Cohen’s stripped-out, junkyard dog of a group does get help from sister/clarinet master Anat Cohen, keyboardist Gerald Clayton and vocalist Karen Ann, their respective footprints on Dark Nights (while amazing) are minimal. It’s Cohen, bassist Omer Avital and drummer Nasheet Waits that smoke the blues on the opening title track, and make “Goodbye Porkpie Hat” even more mournful than any recording since Charles Mingus’ original session. That said, Triveni also brings sexy back with Frank Foster’s “Shiny Stockings” and breaks Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life” down to its component parts. Yes, there’s more than a little overdubbing (so Avishai can play with his effects box), but otherwise, it’s just three guys playing killer tunes. Cool!

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JAZZ 2K: CD Picks of the Week

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Reviews by J Hunter

Now that we’ve all survived Thanksgiving Food Coma and Black Friday zombie shoppers, here are some suggestions for your holiday gift search. (And remember: Think Global, but please Shop Local!)

Arturo O'Farrill: The Noguchi Sessions
ARTURO O’FARRILL
The Noguchi Sessions
(Zoho Music)
Why would Arturo O’Farrill – who made his name in jazz primarily through big bands – do a solo-piano date? The long answer involves O’Farrill’s affinity for Isamu Noguchi, the Japanese/American artist who built a museum in Long Island City so his wide range of works and styles could be viewed properly. The short answer? Arturo O’Farrill doesn’t play it safe, and (like Noguchi) refuses to be limited by other people’s definitions. Sessions is a series of musical portraits, all of them drenched in color and passion and recorded on one afternoon in the Noguchi Museum. Some are originals inspired by O’Farrill’s own life and views, like the romantic celebration “Mi Vida,” the reflective “In Whom” (written for O’Farrill’s son Zachary, a musician now coming into his own) and “The Delusion of the Greedy,” a volatile diatribe inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement; some are massive expansions of jazz, Latin and Americana standards ranging from Randy Weston’s “Little Niles” and Pedro Flores’ “Obsesión” to Stephen Foster’s “O Susanna.” By the time O’Farrill tiptoes through Charles Mingus’ “Jelly Roll,” you are as drained as O’Farrill must have been at the end of the four-hour session. But then, walking through the mind’s eye of an artist is not for the timid. So: You up for a walk?

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