I kept seeing the name Avishai Cohen around so I thought I'd listen. A new world opened for me. Then two days ago I saw him at the Blue Note NYC(which turned out to be not that expensive after all). The difference between seeing him and hearing him is the difference between 6th heaven and 7th heaven. Not only has he begun to create a solid body of work but he is a consummate showman - he wins the audience over with his sincerity, modesty, and appreciation of his sidemen. His technique is awesome, the compositions (an amalgam of Bartok, mediteranean, latin, jazz and maximalism [the interesting version of minimalism]) are fresh and intriguing, and the group's cohesion is frightening. The new pianist who replaces Sam Barsh is fine, though I would have liked to see Barsh - see "As Is" the DVD for a view of this wonderful musician/entertainer. Now the drummer. The most visually exciting drummer I've ever seen AND the most musical. I can't imagine anyone being better (better is not the right word as music is not meant to be a competitive sport but language often fails).
All these words and I haven't even really mentioned the music. Well, you know what I'm gonna say! Buy all this guy's music. You won't regret it.
There is one thing. There always is! The music is very composed, arranged and rehearsed. While there is plenty of spontaneity I don't know how much of the music is improvised. I'd like to see Cohen in a trio where the pianist (someone other than Corea) calls the tunes and see what Avishai does. Avi the side man. Maybe that will be a future CD?