Avishai Cohen & The International Vamp Band

b. 20 April 1970, Naharia, Israel. Cohen studied piano from the age of 11 and soon afterwards began developing an interest in jazz. When he was 14, his family moved to the USA, settling in St. Louis,…
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Artist Biography

b. 20 April 1970, Naharia, Israel. Cohen studied piano from the age of 11 and soon afterwards began developing an interest in jazz. When he was 14, his family moved to the USA, settling in St. Louis, Missouri. Although he played piano in a high school jazz band, he then switched to electric bass on which instrument a prime influence was Jaco Pastorius. Back in Israel, from his mid- to late teens he studied at the Jerusalem Music & Arts High School before military service intervened. Upon returning to civilian life at the start of the 90s he resumed playing but now on the acoustic bass. In 1992, he returned to the USA and in New York City worked on construction sites while he made connections among jazz musicians. His talent was quickly recognized and he and drummer Jorge Roffi toured Spain with Brad Mehldau. Cohen also gigged with many of New York’s leading players, including Ravi Coltrane, Paquito D’Rivera, Roy Hargrove, Wynton Marsalis, Leon Parker, Danilo Perez and Joshua Redman. It was with Perez that he made most impact, appearing on 1996’s Panamonk.

After a demo tape was heard by Chick Corea, Cohen signed with Corea’s Stretch Records to make his debut as leader with Adama. In 1998, he joined Corea’s new band, Origin, appearing on Originations and Past, Present & Futures. Among other artists with whom Cohen has played are Nnenna Freelon and Claudia Acuña. Eclectic in his musical interests, Cohen sometimes brings into contemporary jazz certain aspects of Middle Eastern and Israeli music.