Album Remarks & Appraisals:
At Home, Avishai Cohen's sixth recording as a leader, features eleven profoundly beautiful compositions performed by his trio of Sam Barsh on piano and Mark Guiliana on drums, joined by special guests Yosvany Terry, Anne Drummond, Diego Urcola and Jeff Ballard.
"Like the country itself, the jazz scene in Portugal is small, but its exquisite aesthetics are quickly revealed to those with only the willingness to explore. Your faithful musical travel guide points you in the direction of bassist Nelson Cascais and this exquisite slice of elegantly arranged small-group jazz modernity, one devoid of any obvious Latin influence.
The revelation here is that all the flavors that make this cozido special do not emanate from Portugalia. The sublimely soulful and delectably discerning American organist and pianist Jesse Chandler is on hand to incite the proceedings into the not-to-be-missed category. For the unfamiliar, Chandler was responsible for the most refreshing jazz organ recording of the new millennium, 2004's Somewhere Between, employing a deftly imaginative sound palette and prioritizing modern rock's emphasis on melody. Rather than tour behind this impressive effort, Chandler absconded to Portugal, where, it seems, he quickly fell in with the cream-of-the-crop of Lisbon's jazzers.
The 32-year-old leader Cascais reveals himself as a composer to be reckoned with here, penning all of the session's originals. The hypnotic "De Manhã Começa o Dia breathes as it seemingly slows and speeds, encompassing the listener in a swirling, yet soothing embrace. And yes, its Chandler's Rhodes that's most responsible for the harmonic cushion, the plush pillow that's engulfing your head through your earphones. But the cascading sax and guitar melody, with Cascais placing his simple three-note bass line at perfect intervals, is what draws you in. Pedro Moreira's fat-toned tenor solo touches on adventurous harmonic ground, proficiently and playfully skirting territory that might detract from the vibe, while 29-year-old guitarist André Fernandes' warm lines navigate the changes with equally ear-grabbing, yet airier flair." -AllAboutJazz
Down Beat (p.60) - "AT HOME is filled with the kind of virtuosic soloing and portentous writing that marked Pastorius' career outside Weather Report. Cohen's compositions are characterized by big gestures, rapid movement and cyclical rhythm patterns."
JazzTimes (pp.98-100) - "There are lyrical flourishes scattered about the album, but it's clear that polyrhythmic pulse and textural layering are where Cohen is, to use his phrase, most at home."
Personnel: Avishai Cohen (acoustic bass, electric bass); Avishai Cohen (vocals, double bass, bass guitar); Anne Drummond (vocals, flute); Sam Barsh (vocals, melodica, piano, Fender Rhodes piano, organ); Yosvany Terry (vocals, saxophone, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, percussion); Mark Guiliana (vocals, drums, percussion); Tomer Tzur (percussion); Diego Urcola (flugelhorn); Jeff Ballard (percussion).
Audio Mixer: Bernie Kirsh.
Recording information: Beartracks Studios, Suffern, NY (02/14/2004-02/20/2004).
Photographer: Daniel Kedem.