Personnel: Avishai Cohen (trumpet).
Audio Mixer: Brian Montgomery.
Liner Note Author: Avishai Cohen .
Recording information: Systems Two, Brooklyn, NYC (12/17/2009/12/18/2009).
Photographer: Philippe Levy-Stab.
The second album from trumpeter Avishai Cohen's Triveni trio, 2012's Triveni II finds the Israeli-born jazz musician further exploring his trio's unique mix of straight-ahead and avant-garde jazz. Drawing upon such influences as Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus, and Dizzy Gillespie, the trio (which also features bassist Omer Avital and drummer Nasheet Waits) makes frenetic, often explosive music. Taking their name from the Sanskrit word for the place where three sacred rivers come together, Triveni seem to very much perform with that collaborative philosophical notion in mind. With over ten years of performance history between them, both Cohen and Avital have an almost psychic connection when playing together. That, combined with Waits' own intuitive and lively percussion instincts, allows the trio to delve headlong into some inspired group interplay. Much like some of the classic piano-less ensembles before them, including the aforementioned Coleman quartet of the '60s (clearly a major touchstone for Cohen), Triveni take smart advantage of the freedom that comes from opening up the harmonic sound of the group. Freed from the harmonic imposition of a piano and guided by Avital's songlike bass, it is as if Triveni simply use a song's given form as a jumping-off point for more adventurous, almost stream-of-consciousness improvisatory sections. While Triveni II works as a trio album, it is nonetheless Cohen's trumpet that takes center stage. With his broad, puckered trumpet tone and lithe, athletic improvisational abilities, Cohen (who placed third in the 1997 Thelonious Monk Jazz Trumpet Competition) often brings to mind a mix of the rambunctious freebop of Don Cherry with the more wry and bluesy sound of Clark Terry. Ultimately, Triveni II is most memorable for how it showcases the trio's immense virtuosity and creativity, forging an end result that finds moments of greatness both well within and far beyond the jazz tradition. ~ Matt Collar