Avishai Cohen | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Trumpeter Avishai Cohen--not to be confused with the Israeli bassist of the same name--is part of a recent flowering of Israeli musicians in New York who transcend boundaries of geography and style. He's an in-demand sideman, performing with everyone from sophisticated pop singer Keren Ann to pianist Jason Lindner, but he really shines on his own new album, After the Big Rain (Anzic), revealing an aesthetic that recalls the polyglot work of Don Cherry if not exactly his sound. Cohen, a staunch modernist, weaves jazz improvisations through hypnotic pieces that borrow from the Middle East and Africa--guitarist Lionel Loueke is from Benin, and his singing and playing styles reach back to ancient traditions. As a composer and soloist, Cohen overflows with ideas, and even though he occasionally overdoes the electronic effects, his trumpet lines are lithe and powerful. This weekend he plays in a trio with regular associate (and fellow Israeli) Omer Avital on bass and the explosive, deeply swinging Nasheet Waits on drums. His set is part of Hamsa-Fest; complete schedule on page TK. a 2:45 PM, Lincoln Park, LaSalle & Stockton, 773-929-0224 or gatc.org, $5-$10 suggested donation. A--Peter Margasak

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