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Matthew Ruddick

Author of Funny Valentine, an acclaimed new biography of the jazz trumpet player and singer, Chet Baker.
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Saturday, 27 August 2022 17:15

Avishai Cohen - Shifting Sands

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The modern jazz trio at its finest.

The sophisticated sounds of Shifting Sands resonate throughout bassist Avishai Cohen’s uber-cool latest album. This collection of ten original compositions provides the vehicle for the quintessential modern jazz trio at its finest. Together with Elchin Shirinov’s piano and Roni Kaspi’s drums, Cohen creates an ensemble which exudes cool and the healing power of music. At a time when we need that healing power around the world.

These ten tracks were created during the pandemic and their release is accompanied by international dates where - finally - they can be heard in concert halls and jazz clubs.

There is a true musical sophistication to Shifting Sands. From the very start - Intertwined - it feels as if these musicians sit so comfortably together. Despite her youth, the emerging drum talent of Kaspi really does weave itself between Cohen’s bass and the piano of Shirinov. A true trio that is far greater than even the sum of its parts.

Once your ears reach the heights of the rhythmic complexity of Joy, you know this trio will deliver delightfully. This track exudes the modern jazz equivalent of euphoria - perhaps as we emerge from the pandemic.

“One of the reasons why my music has progressed well is because of the musicians,” explains Cohen. “I have a clear idea of what I want, but the musicians have total freedom. That, to me, is modern jazz. It’s the most democratic form of music but you have to be well invested and intelligent enough to respect what you’re getting. The hardest thing is to be yourself, and to give the freedom to others to be themselves too. And Shifting Sands is the highest level I’ve reached so far: of me being the composer and the idea-maker but having them both state the mood and the vibe.”

The vibe of Chacha Rom exemplifies what is best about this album, although it’s hard to find a ‘favourite’ among these outstanding tracks. Recorded in the autumn of 2021 in Sweden, the collective whole of Shifting Sands can only prove how much creativity was able to exist despite the tragedy and disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic.


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