Avishai Cohen | Naked Truth Review
by Darnel Jackson
Trumpeter Avishai Cohen is releasing his latest ECM Records project called Naked Truth. The album is presented with trumpet, piano, double bass, and drums and achieves a raw beauty and vulnerability in its sound throughout. The nine tracks are mostly music-of-the-moment, found, and shaped in an inspired recording session in the South of France. Naked Truth takes the form of an extemporaneous suite. The Israeli trumpeter is joined by his long-time comrades – pianist Yonathan Avishai, bassist Barak Mori, and drummer Ziv Ravitz – who share an intuitive understanding of Cohen’s music. “Departure,” a poem by Zelda Schneurson Mishkovsky, whose themes of renunciation, acceptance, and letting go seem optimally attuned to the mood of the music.
“Naked Truth (Pt. 2)” opens with a harmonically colorful piano figure. The melody is adorned with a Harmon muted trumpet as its long tones float over the shifting arpeggios. The theme is developed with careful attention to color and attitude with a relaxed mood. Ravitz’s drum set provides the most activity and interaction with the ensemble until the ending climax by Cohen’s trumpet. With interesting textures and restrain, Cohen leads the ensemble into expressing the music that feels like today’s times and energy.
“Naked Truth (Pt. 7)” opens with another stunning piano figure by Avishai. The music has tones of contemporary classical, pop, and folk music augmented by a robust rhythmic push and pull and jazz improvisation. The theme is reminiscent of the music that preceded it, and Cohen’s tone and articulation are filled with angst and possibilities.
Naked Truth offers a minimal exploration of musical spaces built with melancholy, and intentional less is more attitude wrapped in classical and European jazz influences. At its core, Naked Truth is Cohen’s eclectic mix into a suite of songs that seem to capture the mood of our current times, which are melancholic and poised with sweeping possibilities of splendor and togetherness.
Artist: Avishi Cohen
Label: ECM Records
Release Date: February 25, 2022