|Avishai Cohen is best known for the strong, personal and unique style he adds to every project - as a leader, supporter, participant or simply a “watcher”. He now brings all of these elements to his latest recording, LYLA.
LYLA is a platform expressing what collaboration can birth, and proving that every life encounter is a meaningful one. In the weaving of the human voice, words and instruments, the message is clear. “It took a little longer this time, but once again — a body of music is born,” says Cohen.
Jazz often has relied on collisions of culture to advance. Avishai Cohen, the Israeli-born bassist who plays widely with Chick Corea, certainly qualifies as a happenin' import. His "Lyla," the Hebrew word for "night" and an elegant Arabic name for a woman, takes a worldly view of jazz. The vibe is hard to place. Is the beat Latin and occasionally funky? Are the melodies Sephardic? Is his International Vamp Band cool? Yes, yes and yes.
Cohen, who is showing up more on piano and vocals, creates a lively set that smolders with compelling beats and makes frequent use of vocals that sound like horns. Argentine-born trumpeter Diego Urcola and Cuban-trained saxophonist Yosvany Terry keep the pulse high while Israeli Ari Lebovich does unusual double duty on trombone and flute.
Cohen fashions a strident bass solo of the Beatles' "Come Together." Corea appears for a poignant and plush duet on "Eternal Child," and "Structure in Motion" features Cohen's solo piano noodling around, getting stuck on some riffs and even bumping into grandeur. "Handsonit" features horns with the boldness of a Latin dance band, yet the piece goes through several transformations, morphing into something like a television theme. Not a dull tune here.
- Karl Stark, Knight Ridder Newspapers
Yagil Baras - acoustic and electric bass
Mark Guiliana - percussion, drums
Eric McPherson - drums
Jeff Taylor - vocals
Lola - vocals
Bernie Kirsh - vocals
Avishai Cohen - piano, wurlitzer, vocals, synthesizer, strings, acoustic bass, fender rhodes
Chick Corea - Piano
Diego Urcola - flugelhorn, trumpet
Yosvany Terry Chekere - alto sax
Alex Norris - flugelhorn
Avi Lebovich - flute, trombone