Avishai Cohen  Into the Silence (ECM)

 

There’s no lack of poise in Avishai Cohen’s music. This new quintet disc arrives with a fetching equilibrium that gives each passage the power to determine its own weight. As the trumpeter’s crew moves along, precision guides their choices. Maybe it’s because Cohen’s so accustomed to trio work, a realm that demands a pronounced sense of balance. His decidedly more flamboyant Triveni outfit has nurtured an enviable unity by steadily shifting as one. The band on Into The Silence takes that strength even further, positioning it as a priority.

The music radiates with authority. Whether it’s an overt ballad like “Life Or Death” or the momentary agitation of the title cut, the program is bolstered by a deeply considered feel. Pianist Yonathan Avishai plays a key role as the trumpeter’s main foil, using a palpable determination to stress the nuance in the leader’s writing. The pieces were inspired by the passing of Cohen’s father, and an elegiac vibe is often in the air. Reflection guides “Quiescence” and even the rumbles of “Into The Silence” seem to be seeking a thoughtful repose.

The rhythm section boosts such subtleties. “Dream Like a Child” steers into myriad twists and turns; with each new swerve drummer Nasheet Waits and bassist Eric Revis shade the action, feathering impulses while Cohen’s brass lines keen or wail. Indeed, the trumpeter, who sounds fantastic throughout, strolls a bit on this one, letting his team wax eloquent. Cohen found solace in Rachmaninov’s piano music after the loss of his father, but the drama here has more to do with the Milesian grief of “He Loved Him Madly” and “Vonetta.” It’s the guiding spirit of a somber program that’s well-calibrated, poetic and straight from the heart.

DownBeat

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