Triveni, a Sanskrit word that means "the place where three sacred rivers meet," is an accurate descriptor for this bold trio. Cohen called on bassist Omer Avital and drummer Nasheet Waits to help him achieve his artistic aims, sans chordal instrument, and he couldn't have asked for two better-suited partners. The trumpeter has a longstanding relationship with Avital, which includes their collaborative efforts within Third World Love, while Waits' drum work in triangular settings led by pianists Jason Moran and Fred Hersch has established him as the most important, now-practicing stick wielder in the artistic medium known as the jazz trio.
The best jazz groups are made up of kindred spirits, but the rare family band has something more – an intuitive feel for each other that goes beyond words and gestures to a kind of bred-in-the-bone telepathy. The 3 Cohens are that sort of uncommon collective, a trio of siblings – tenor saxophonist/clarinetist Anat Cohen, trumpeter Avishai Cohen and soprano saxophonist Yuval Cohen – whose sense of improvisational interplay is both uncannily fluent and wonderfully, infectiously warm. In Tightrope the group digs deep to explore this connection in an unaccompanied setting. Stellar guests Fred Hersch, Christian McBride and Jonathan Blake individually add their voices to the conversation.
Although tenor sax/bass/drums trio recordings have been plentiful for decades, a trumpeter plus bass and drums has been an infrequent combination on record. The young Israeli Avishai Cohen is up to the challenge, accompanied by bassist Omer Avital and drummer Nasheet Watts. Cohen's interpretation of Don Cherry's "Art Deco" is playful and lighthearted, while his expressive muted horn in the slow, slinky take of Duke Ellington's oft-recorded "Mood Indigo" would have likely made its composer smile.
Now one of the most popular jazz players of the past decade, Avishai Cohen takes his artistic approach to its zenith, with Seven Seas. Featuring nursery rhymes, lullabies and suites in which heroic inspiration and symphonics abound. Seven Seas plunges us into a fabulous sound voyage, in which understatement and magnitude play a never-ending game of ping-pong, a trip that easily transposes to the silver screen. Once you get past the opening credits dripping in joyful nostalgia, you steer past isles of rhythm and continents of sound, winding up with a traditional piano ladino with Cohen's intense vocals. Cohen has reached a new pinnacle as an artist. It's more of a fusion album, perhaps bringing us closer to reality of an odyssey, with its title that transports us into nautical legend: seven seas' many twists and turns make it the most exciting of albums in Cohen's discography.