This review appears in the April 2011 issue of The New York City Jazz Record:
Introducing Triveni (Anzic)
By David R. Adler
It’s hard to avoid the word “authenticity” when describing the raw, bone-deep sense of swing that permeates Introducing Triveni, easily one of the top jazz recordings of 2010. Trumpeter Avishai Cohen, bassist Omer Avital and drummer Nasheet Waits lock it in from the first moments of “One Man’s Idea,” a brisk Cohen original, but they’re just as sturdy and impressive on slow-crawling tempos such as Ellington’s “Mood Indigo.” This is clearly a band effort, full of subtlety and keen interaction, even if Cohen’s main purpose seems to be playing the hell out of the horn.
The trumpet-bass-drums format is not terribly common, and yet it isn’t new to Cohen — he teamed with bassist John Sullivan and drummer Jeff Ballard for his 2003 debut The Trumpet Player (adding tenorist Joel Frahm on three tracks). For his 2008 release Flood, Cohen made music that was darker, more meditative and vamp-oriented, recruiting pianist Yonatan Avishai and percussionist Daniel Freedman, his colleagues from the eclectic band Third World Love. Though Avital is a Third World Love member as well, he and Cohen generate fireworks of another sort here. Their work on Introducing Triveni is solidly, unambiguously “in the tradition” and still every bit as inventive.
Simply put, this is a platform for Cohen the jazz virtuoso. His flair for modern trumpet language is impeccable on “Ferrara Napoly,” a dark and elaborate theme that morphs into a blues (complete with a surprise quote of “When I Fall In Love”). The wah-wah muting on “Mood Indigo” conjures Bubber Miley, arguably by way of Wynton Marsalis. Don Cherry’s “Art Deco,” in plain and accessible F major, sounds as close to a standard as Cole Porter’s “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To” — both tunes get a similar midtempo treatment, with Waits showing fine taste and control on brushes. John Coltrane’s “Wise One” is full of open-ended rubato tumult, while Cohen’s “Amenu” and “October 25th” are orchestrated in a tight-but-loose way, highlighting the trio’s effortless rapport.