Avishai Cohen – Into the Silence – ECM 24824760091 – 180 gm audiophile vinyl – 2016 – ***1/2
(Avishai Cohen – trumpet; Bill McHenry – tenor sax; Yonathan Avishai – piano; Eric Revis – bass; Nasheet Waits -drums)
As part of their audiophile vinyl reissue program, ECM Records has issued trumpeter, Avishai Cohen’s 2016 album, Into the Silence. Cohen wrote the six tracks after the death of his father, who passed in November, 2014. Avishai and his sister, Anat (saxophones and clarinet), and brother, Yuval (soprano sax) are Israeli jazz royalty, and part of the renaissance of jazz coming out of Israel.
The music on the (three sides) LPs is moody, a blend of classical and ambient jazz. It is heartfelt, and listening to the introspective, melancholic motifs, you can’t help but explore the emotions brought on by a loved one’s passing. They are there in thought, and yet the silence can be both agonizing and omnipresent.
“Life and Death” made me think of the Kaddish (the Jewish prayer to honor the dead). After the recent slaughter of eleven elderly Jewish members at the Pittsburgh synagogue, its theme seems even more timely. Cohen’s composition has a funereal feel, with his trumpet, and Yonathan Avishai’s piano floating in and out. There are several striking blues choruses. “Behind the Broken Glass” begins with a bass riff, and the trumpet and piano play off each other. The emotion escalates when tenor saxist, Bill McHenry comes in.
“Dream Like a Child” begins trance like, a gentle caress, and at mid tune goes into more aggressive territory, but again returns to more contemplation, with McHenry providing musical “commentary.” “Quiescence” makes use of a piano ostinato, and Cohen blends seamlessly with McHenry.
The title track has drummer, Waits, taking lead with an almost march like tempo. It’s an ambient sound stage. The tenor sax is insistent, and Cohen responds in kind. The closing track, “Life and Death-Epilogue” is a short coda to the opening track, done as an exquisite piano solo by Yonathan Avishai.
For late night listening and contemplation, this well recorded LP reissue, comes highly recommended. This was Cohen’s ECM debut, and it fits in nicely with much of the label’s catalog.
Life and Death
Behind the Broken Glass
Dream Like a Child
Into the Silence
Life and Death-Epilogue
Link to Avishai Cohen’s web site here.
More information and track samples can be found at ECM Records here: