Using accepted standards, what would be the correct instrumental configuration to recreate a disaster of, literally, Biblical proportions? A fairly sizeable orchestra—or, at minimum, a big band with a talent for the chaotic—would seem mandatory. Well, Avishai Cohen (who, among many things, holds down the trumpet chair in the immeasurably talented family band 3 Cohens) chose a different path for Flood. As a result, "Avishai the Trumpeter" has made much more memorable music.
Flood is the second disc in Cohen's Big Rain trilogy. Based on a poem Cohen wrote after Thailand was hit with a deadly tsunami, the trilogy imagines the earth (and society in general) beginning anew after some devastating event ends the world as we know it now. The trilogy's third episode, After the Big Rain (Anzic, 2007), was powered by a crackling sextet featuring Lionel Loueke, Jason Lindner and Omer Avital. Rather than stay with that powerful unit for the flood itself, Cohen pares the group in half. And in this case, less really is more.
Yonatan Avishai's plaintive piano opens "First Drops" with simple, soft chords, evoking a grey day with clouds innocently forming, while Daniel Freedman (the sole holdover from After) adds hints of percussion that suggest rain on a tin roof, and then hits his conga to presage more intensity. A full scene is set before Cohen even plays his first unmated note, which is simple, clear, and rings out like a bell in the night. Freedman's hand drums and the pianist's insistent, percussive playing don't break the feel of this hypnotic waltz, increasingly enticing with each reprise of the opening figure. Continue reading at ALLABOUTJAZZ.COM.