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Braid

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 20, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Siblings Yuval, Anat and Avishai Cohen have been playing together since childhood. Now, as seasoned musicians and band-leaders, they pair the joy of family music-making with musicianship of the highest level. They complete each other s phrases, seamlessly intertwining solo and accompaniment in an exciting original program. Featuring Aaron Goldberg, Eric Harland and Omer Avital.

Review

...arresting sophomore album... --Nate Chinen, New York Times

...[a] polyphonic pip --Village Voice
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 20, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ANZIC RECORDS
  • ASIN: B000XCZCF8
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #265,511 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Jan P. Dennis on December 7, 2007
Format: Audio CD
. . . this being her third disc in 2007 as leader or co-leader (the others being Poetica and Noir), not to mention her headlining role in the slyly brilliant Bobby Darin tribute by the Waverly Seven, Yo! Bobby.

Wonderful as the others are, this is my favorite. Maybe its the mysterioso sibling vibe, with brothers Avishai (trumpet, composer) and Yural (soprano sax, composer) regularly engaging in other-worldly instrumental telepathy; maybe its the remarkably simpatico vibe that hangs out all over this disc; maybe it's the non-Cohens (pianistic genius Aaron Goldberg in his finest outing; Omer Avital, emerging bass monster; plus non-Jewish ringer Eric Harland on very tasty drums); maybe it's just one of those serendipitous sessions where everything come out just right--I don't know.

But there's eldritch magic all over this outing.

In any case, this is music you don't want to miss: daring, casually virtuoso, hip, insouciant, and simply cooler-than-thou.

Essential.
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... relegated to the musical heritage societies, or to 'covers' of the imitators of the imitators...

... along come the three Cohens, siblings born in Tel-Aviv, Israel, and conservatory trained at the Berklee College of Music in Boston! How unlikely is it that they'll play hard-driving, passionate, complex jazz, and without any cutesy intrusions of ethnic flavors? But that's what they play, with the technical control of their instruments and tightness of ensemble that come with a conservatory background but with brash originality and genuine New York energy. Now we know that Chutzpah is Yiddish for Soul!

Avishai Cohen plays trumpet, Yuval Cohen plays soprano sax on this CD, and Anat Cohen plays tenor sax and clarinet. They're backed up by Aaron Goldberg on piano, Omer Avital on bass, and Eric Harland on drums. Some tracks, to my ears, take off from Coltrane and Dolphy, while others catch the Caribbean express. Really intricate polyrhythmic ensemble playing is their forte; all three melody instrumentalists are capable of freeing their riffs from any beat or back-beat constraints. The usual risk with authentically improvised jazz is 'finger music', display without direction, invention without intention, aimlessness. The 3 Cohens never fall into that trap. Even in the heat of rhythmic frenzy, they place every lick in the sort of melodic/harmonic structure one wants to recognize as a composition. And, more like fine jazz musicians than like most siblings, they 'comp' each other; they respond to each other's phrasing and pick up each other's cues. The moments when all three are 'in a groove' are truly as tight as a braid.

Anat Cohen has become somewhat of a jazz star without her brothers, currently touring with the extraordinary jazz pianist Benny Green.
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Whether it's common upbringing, shared DNA, or just having to learn how to share, the 3 Cohens, Anat (clarinet/tenor sax), Yuval (soprano/alto sax) and Avishai (trumpet) have produced an album on which the horns have a telepathic communication. They weave over and under each other in harmony, counterpoint or succession in wondrous ways that are a braid indeed. I have not heard another album in which horns move forward or back, take solos or play behind each other with as much grace as these three. The compositions bear traces of Middle Eastern folk song roots, Latin American rhythms and New York post bop jazz without falling entirely in any one camp. These strong melodic pieces are an important part of the group's success and reflect the strong melodic feel of each one's improvisations. The rhythm section is an all-star one. Aaron Goldberg on piano, Omer Avital on bass and Eric Harland on drums, all leaders in their own right. To my ear this is the best of the 3 Cohen albums and a treat not to be missed.
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Sister & two brother combination (Anat, Avishai & Yuval Cohen playing Tenor Sax, Trumpet & Soprano Sax respectively) demonstrate exquisite musicianship, compositional skills (9 originals out of 10 tracks) & kindred understanding/interplay on this fabulous disc. Furthermore, the support of Aaron Goldberg on piano, Omer Avital on bass & Eric Harland on Drums is excellent, although I did find the bass sometimes a little too subdued in the mix & also with no real room to individually shine.
It all starts off with the dancing, euphoric "Navad (The Wanderer)" where each sibling gets to stretch out mightily with wonderful changes of light & shade. Then follows the balladic "Gigi et Amelie" & the occasionally fiery up-tempo "Freedom" - indeed one of the great things about this album is that it never settles into a particular mood, vibe or formula but constantly compels you to listen. For example the fourth track "Beaches", whilst essentially another gorgeous ballad, features what you might call "deconstructed" horn playing with Goldberg & Harland adding brilliant textures throughout.
And so it goes - all tracks are excellent listening (interestingly the Cohens' horns-only interpretation of Van Heusen & Burke's "It could happen to you" is probably the weakest track) & this disc is money very well spent indeed.
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