Avishai Cohen Trio All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Sun., May 11, 8 p.m. 2014

The saxophone trio is one of jazz’s great proving grounds—everything the horn player does is laid bare atop the rhythm section. You don’t hear much about trumpet trios, and for good reason—the format’s demands are so great that most musicians shy away from it. A trumpet generally requires more air and energy than a saxophone, and it doesn’t have the sax’s crazy vocabulary of multiphonics, squeals, and other harmonic embellishments. But some of my favorite music of the past few years has come from New York-based Israeli trumpeter Avishai Cohen (brother of clarinetist Anat), playing in a trio called Triveni with bassist Omer Avital and drummer Nasheet Waits. That group has released two fantastic albums, most recently Triveni II (Anzic) in 2012, and they juggle Cohen’s pithy, memorable original tunes with durable themes from some of jazz’s greatest iconoclasts—among them Ornette Coleman, Dizzy Gillespie, Don Cherry, and John Coltrane. The music has a great spirit of adventure, not because it’s radically experimental but because it’s dazzlingly agile and adaptable, open to any spontaneous melodic prerogative or rhythmic energy. Cohen is a muscular player with a gorgeous, full-bodied tone, and Avital and Waits are as propulsive and flexible a rhythm section as you’ll find anywhere. On a version of the Charles Mingus ballad “Portrait” Cohen slyly drops in a quote from “Flamingo,” and Waits is just as quick and clever, moving from swing to march to tango as naturally as he draws breath. Cohen’s “Get Blue” is an earthy, gutbucket stroll with some fantastic fatback growls and plunger-mute manipulation. He doesn’t sound like Don Cherry, but he has similarly catholic tastes—and he delivers a gorgeous version of Cherry’s “Art Deco.” For tonight’s performance, part of the second Israeli Jazz & World Music Festival, Matt Penman subs on bass. —Peter Margasak

Price: $25, $35 for premier, $40 for VIP

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