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Avishai Cohen Trio - From Darkness (2015)

After flirting with Pop vocals and other non-Jazz explorations Israeli bassist Avishai Cohen is back to basics, presenting this album recorded in a classic Jazz piano trio setting with two young Israeli musicians: pianist Nitai Hershkovits and drummer Daniel Dor (both of them were members of saxophonist Daniel Zamir's group). The album presents eleven pieces, ten of which are original compositions by Cohen and one is a standard.

Cohen's ideas as a composer seem to have lost most of their freshness and element of surprise that characterized his early efforts. This time the melodic contents is rather simplistic and the obsession with odd meters is unnerving after four or five tunes but carries on till the very last tones of the album. There are some traces of the Middle Eastern tonality, but most of the time it is very difficult to characterize this music in any way.

The album is saved by the wonderful performances by Hershkovits and Dor, who are the real stars here, outshining the leader by far. Of course Cohen is a fine bass player but on this album he sounds just like countless other mainstream bassists playing all over the world, professional but uninspired.

As much as I admire Cohen for his pioneering work two decades ago, this album does not signal any new direction or progression and overall lacks focus. Of course it is still a very nice piece of music, which many listeners can enjoy, but musicians seeking the status of world leadership need to try harder. Better luck next time.

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