Avishai Cohen...

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by Gideon, May 1, 2001.

  1. Being my first thread I hope I'm not dropping a bomb and ruining my, um, good name. But...I just saw Chick Corea's New Trio here in Portland, Oregon. Jeff Ballard on drums, Avishai Cohen on bass. Jeff Ballard is incredible. Enjoying to watch and a great player. Cohen, well, not so impressive.

    I found myself seriously under-whelmed by Cohen. After all the good words coming out of the hype machine and with the example set by Vitous and Pattitucci I was expecting some sort of technical monster. Instead, his intonation was spotty, his soloing was uninteresting and, for the most part, unrelated to the songs.

    I read an interview with him recently and he spoke about learning some percussion techniques from Cachao or someone who studied with Cachao. But Avishai's percussion moments were limited to occasional triplets and some barely in-time quarter notes. Not too exciting.

    At first I thought maybe he was pulling something way out and my head was too square to get it. So I called up all the gigging bassists I know. My sentiments were felt unanimously.

    He seemed to be unable to match the musical ability of either Corea or Ballard. While he got the hits right and was able to stay in time, he didn't add and I think actually hurt the performance. A different bassist could have added a lot to the show.

    So, what's the deal? Is he just hype, a future monster but hasn't found his voice or was it a bad night? Should I head out for another listen?
  2. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Maybe it was a bad night. I've never seen him live but was seriously impressed by Colors (his solo album). I am sure other have some opinions...I didn't go to the show, it was a bit pricey and I would rather see Cohen playing his stuff than Corea's....(IMO)
  3. bassgeek


    Oct 19, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    Gideon, I think it may have been an "off" night for him. I've seen him in several different configurations and he was happening in all of them. There is a positive review of his clinic at the IAJE festival in the recent issue of Double Bass magazine. At a Origin gig last summer before several thousand people, he received the biggest applause of the night after a beautiful unaccompanied solo. The only thing negative I can say about him is that he flirted with my girlfriend throughout an entire Origin set at the Blue Note a while back!
  4. Bijoux


    Aug 13, 2001
    Yeah, Avishai is definetelly the man, all three of his solo albums are great, in fact the Chick Corea trio album Past, present, Future, is great, check out how fluid he plays that line on the footprints like tune, and they play a great version of Jitterbug waltz, Avishai got this real cool rythm thing going, where he sort of slows down his phrasing, sort of like a delayed effect mostly used by horn players, and he really streches to the limit that way. I am very sorry to hear that good musicians can have real off nights, but don't let that fool you, Chick can have any bassist on his gig, and in fact Eddie Gomez, Stanley Clarke, Gary Peacock, Chistian McBride, John Patitucci, Miroslav Vitous, Dave Holland, just to name a few, I don't think Chick would play with someone short of talent in any way.
  5. He's a monster pianist too.
  6. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    I found the original post interesting, as I had just been listening to two of the Corea trio albums, one with Cohen and one with Pattituci. As good as Pattituci's chops are, I didn't care for his playing in the trio; he seemed to be off soloing by himself rather than playing with Corea. Ditto Weckl, who sounded like he was playing in a fusion band and not a jazz trio. Cohen's playing was more restrained, but much more musical, I thought.
  7. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    i have to say that I have never been impressed with Pattitucci's playing. Cohen doesn't do it for me either. I've seen both live several times.
  8. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I think the point of Avishai's bass playing in general is more heavily tilted toward rhythmic playing than melodic. I don't think that this reflects on Avishai's ear for melody -- his arranging and writing shows that he has a neat ear for this.
  9. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Quick note: Through November 5 you can catch a few minutes of Avishai playing solo on Jazz On 3 on the BBC Radio site right here.

    Mesmerizing, and technically monstrous.
  10. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Thanks, Sam...I was less than knocked out by his recorded work with Chick. I'm looking forward to hearing what else he has up his sleeve.

    later, that same evening..... okay that was pretty cool, nice rubbery feel to it. It reminds me a little bit of David Friesen, except that David manages to play a melody over the top of all that rhythmic stuff.

    Bottom line...I don't seem to have any of those notes on my bass...I'd better send it back to the factory.
  11. Abjimajik


    Sep 26, 2004
    Luton, England
    Definately my cup of tea. how is he getting those sounds? where is he hitting? any idea? It says there are some gigs in UK, anyone know where?
  12. Abjimajik


    Sep 26, 2004
    Luton, England
    Oh, it said where gigs were.
  13. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    The stuff with Corea isn't that great. I really do like his solo albums. Much more of an ensemble player and I really like his writting.
  14. His playing always reminds me of that Ray Brown quote about an un-named European bassist - "great chops but would you buy a bass that sounded like that?" Whats the view here - do people like his sound? His facility is astonishing but...
  15. IMO, for a player at any level, the difference between a good night and a bad night is not all that much in the grand scheme of things. It's more the player's own perception of his performance that seems to magnify everything. I don't think hearing Cohen on a good night or a bad night would change your impression of him at this time. Either you liked what you heard or you didn't. It's not going to be all that different tomorrow. The greatest players, even on their worst night, are still great. Mediocre players, even on their best night, are still mediocre.

    Perhaps as your own playing and tastes evolve, you may see him in a different light. However, nobody should condemn you for not digging him right now, or even if you never do.

    I haven't heard enough of Cohen to know what to think. I was underwhelmed with him on the live Origin CD, but I will reserve judgement until I've heard more. After all, Chick Corea don't hire just anybody.
  16. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Well let me first state that I am not gaga over the slab and piano playing.

    What I do like about him is that I feel his playing fits the group setting he has created (in his own quartet).

    In the footsteps of Mingus I feel that he drives the group well from the bass chair and also like Mingus is more concerned with the tune, as opposed to just hearing himself solo.

    I have scene him live a few times now and can't really complain about the quality of his playing. I very much like the rhythmic aspect of his playing, even if that is at the loss of more melodic lines at times. Plus, I enjoy the vamp aspect that he brings to many of the tunes, where the heads are played over a bass pedal.

    With that said, I can also see how Cohen in the wrong context would not really jive. To me he feels more at home with his quartet and International vamp band, than in the Corea setting. But like many he has big shoes to fill in the Corea group.

    Just MHO.

    I really like his first two solo albums and he really expands on the fourth, playing very little DB at all on it.