Avishai Cohen: Duende
Duende. It can be translated as spirit from Spanish, but it really refers to that baffling, uplifting feeling that double-bassist, composer and band leader Avishai Cohen really grooves to. "The word has an absolutely delightful sound. It's a feeling that nurtures music!" Duende, for a double bass-piano duo with Nitai Hershkovits. "Between Nitai and me, the connection was so strong, I was afraid another instrument might swallow it up. I needed to hold on to this precious thing." So it was a dialogue. Soon, they were getting on so well, it was like telepathy between the two new collaborators. "The duo is a highly classic and very demanding form. Like, it takes two to tango. You can sound broader, with more space. That's what I feel this record offers: a vaster horizon than what I have managed previously." In the early 1990s, Avishai Cohen built his sound, learnt his trade, in the shadow of cracks like Chick Corea and Andy Gonzalez. After a few albums recorded in New York City, he returned to Tel Aviv and signed two audacious albums with Blue Note Records, 'Aurora' and 'Seven Seas', that broke with the past in a career that seemed to be written in the stars. Once again, Avishai Cohen dares to change his step with this record that favours a double bass-piano formula. "Surprise is a crucial element of life and creative flair. For as long as I can play music, this sense of freedom will guide me." After sharing for several months, they have built their very own sound. They get through three standards including an original take on Criss Cross by Monk. They have also covered three of Avishai's themes that get totally transfigured, and penned four new, inspired compositions. Thirty-five minutes worth of music. "With jazz especially, the older you get the better you put your finger on it. You play fewer notes but project your voice further. This duo illustrates this perfectly. We just recorded our expressions, without any artefacts or acting the virtuoso. Talking with our hearts not our fingers." Message received loud and clear.