Artist: Avishai Cohen Quartet
Title: Cross My Palm With Silver
Release Date: 2017
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/48kHz
A year after his impressionistic, critically-lauded ECM debut Into The Silence, trumpeter Avishai Cohen’s Cross My Palm With Silver introduces a programme of new pieces which put the focus on the ensemble, on teamwork, with a quartet of the highest calibre. The adroit, almost telepathic interplay among the musicians allows Avishai Cohen to soar, making it clear why he is one of the most talked-about jazz musicians on the contemporary scene. “All of these people together are my dream team”, says the charismatic trumpeter of fellow players Yonathan Avishai, Barak Mori and Nasheet Waits, who share his sense for daring improvisation and his feeling for structure. “I feel we’re in a perfect place with the balance. It’s open and there’s so much room for the improvisation to take the music any place we can. At the same time the composition is very specific and the vibe is very direct and thought about.” As with Into The Silence, Cross My Palm With Silver was produced by Manfred Eicher at Studios La Buissonne in the south of France. It is issued on the eve of a major European tour, with concerts in France, Italy, Spain, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands.
On his ECM debut, 2016’s Into the Silence, Avishai Cohen was toiling with the death of his father and understandably, the album was deeply ruminative and introspective. With his sophomore ECM outing, 2017’s equally nuanced Cross My Palm with Silver, the trumpeter is no less reflective, yet the album feels somehow lighter, more clear-eyed and less shrouded in sadness. Prior to working with producer Manfred Eicher at ECM, the Israeli-born Cohen (who studied at Boston’s Berklee College of Music) was known as a boundary-pushing maverick whose various projects found him moving from extroverted bop standards to groove-oriented klezmer jazz, avant-garde improvisation, and expansive, ambient soundscapes. Cross My Palm with Silver finds Cohen achieving a better balance between his exuberant post-bop inclinations and his more poetic, classical, avant-garde side. Helping Cohen achieve this balance are several returning associates in pianist Yonathan Avishai and drummer Nasheet Waits, augmented this time out with bassist Barak Mori. Together, they play with the kind of intuitive sense one associates with a band who have played together for several years, as is the case here. At just five tracks, the album has a cohesion and brevity that belie its artful slow burn. These are quiet songs punctuated by moments of piercing intensity, such as on the poignant and unsettling “Theme for Jimmy Greene.” A tribute to the gifted saxophonist who lost his daughter in the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, the song starts as a warm hush as Avishai’s piano builds the song with increasingly discordant energy, eventually lifting Cohen to a series of declamatory high notes. Similarly, the spacy “340 Down” is a minimalist group improv that evokes both the trumpeter’s work with his Triveni Trio and his longtime love of mentor Ornette Coleman. Elsewhere, “Shoot Me in the Leg” is an angular, classically influenced piece in 3/4 time with Cohen screaming in a controlled flutter as pianist Avishai lays down a cubist chordal bed. The album-closing “50 Years and Counting” is perhaps the most straight-ahead moment. Centered around a minor-tinged bass motif with a subtle, off-kilter groove, it sounds like something Horace Silver might have written for another ECM artist, the late trumpeter Kenny Wheeler. In fact, much of Cohen’s playing on Cross My Palm with Silver feels deeply inspired by Wheeler; his harmonically fluid lines marked by wide intervallic leaps. Ultimately, it’s Cohen and his bandmates’ deft improvisational skill and wide artistic sensibility, straddling straight-ahead jazz, classical, and the avant-garde, that helps make Cross My Palm with Silver such a bright spot in his discography.
- Will I Die, Miss? Will I Die? – 10:20
- Theme For Jimmy Greene – 5:24
- 340 Down – 3:51
- Shoot Me In The Leg – 12:09
- 50 Years And Counting – 7:03