Avishai Cohen is this month’s conversation on Groove – The No Treble Podcast.
You can listen the new episode right here: Groove – The No Treble Podcast – Episode #102 – Avishai Cohen.
Who is Avishai Cohen?
Around this time last year, I was eagerly representing the No Treble community at the Festival International De Jazz De Montreal in my hometown. With that, I still bought tickets to see acclaimed Israeli bass sensation and his band, The Avishai Cohen Trio. In what seems like a lifetime ago, Covid was still foiling the best laid plans. Avishai Cohen‘s gear got lost in travel and his piano player never made it. Avishai soldiered on to a sold-out crowd that hung over his every note played. The Jazz Fest returns this month to Montreal (June 29 – July 8), and we have lined up a series of incredible conversations for this podcast featuring many bass players that will be live at the fest. Avishai is returning to the Fest with his trio to finish what he started (the tour surrounding the incredible album, Shifting Sands), while also on the cusp of releasing his latest, Iroko, which he recorded with Abraham Rodriguez Jr. If you have not been following the four-stringed adventures of Avishai Cohen, it’s time to jump on this non-stop bullet train of music. Born in Kabri, Israel Avishai has been a transformative figure in the world of jazz. His innovative approach to the bass has not only brought the instrument into the spotlight but also expanded the boundaries of jazz itself. His work has garnered him international awards and global recognition, and his unique compositions have found their way into films, TV, and other media. After moving to St. Louis, Missouri with his family at the age of fourteen, he continued his piano studies and discovered the bass guitar. The electric bass captivated him when his teacher introduced him to the music of luminary bassist Jaco Pastorius and Chick Corea’s Return to Forever. After serving for two years in an Israeli army band, Avishai took a significant step and moved to New York City at the age of 22. Despite the initial challenges, he managed to carve out a unique musical identity, performing on the streets and working in construction to make ends meet. His perseverance paid off when he enrolled at The New School in New York City and became a contemporary of artists such as Brad Mehldau and Peter Bernstein. A call from Chick Corea in 1997 changed everything. After listening to a demo tape Avishai had passed to one of Corea’s friends, Corea was so impressed that he invited Avishai to become a co-founder of his Origina ensemble and a member of his New Trio. For over six years, Avishai became an integral part of Corea’s music, honing his skills as a bassist, composer, and bandleader. Avishai’s first four albums were released under Corea’s label, Stretch Records, and already featured the essence of his musical vision and original compositions. His music, which blends Mediterranean and Latin influences with the use of horns and vocals, creates a sound that is truly unique. In 2002, Avishai created his own record label, Razdaz Recordz, which allowed him to follow his own path and record talented young musicians he believed in. So many albums over the years… so many tours… and Avishai feels like he is just getting started. Enjoy the conversation…
What is Groove – The No Treble Podcast?
This is an ambitious effort. This will be a fascinating conversation. Our goal at Groove is to build the largest oral history of bass players. Why Groove? Most of the content about the bass revolves around gear, playing techniques, and more technical chatter. For us, bassists are creative artists with stories to tell. They are a force to be reckon with. These are the stories and conversation that we will capture. To create this oral history of why these artists chose the bass, what their creative lives are like, and where inspiration can be found.
Are you interested in what’s next? How to decode the future? I publish between 2-3 times per week and then the Six Pixels of Separation Podcast comes out every Sunday. Feel free to subscribe (and tell your friends).