Avishai Cohen has established himself over the past decade as one of the more versatile and curious bassists around. For Gently Disturbed he hooks up with the young pianist Shai Maestro, a fellow Israeli, and drummer Mark Guiliana, on a set that is never less than exciting, always seductive, and often quite challenging. The gently playful opener, "Seattle," is a teaser: a waltz-inspired rhythm percolates underneath, but its simple foundation is often obscured by the trio's complex interplay. As early as track two, the driving "Chutzpan," any notion that this might be a more traditional piano trio recording is quickly dismissed as each of the three musicians engages in virtuosic soloing and lockstep harmonics that find them playing tricks with time and space in a wholly intuitive manner. Cohen's bass work throughout is consistently inventive; he thoroughly enjoys toying with dense, interlocking rhythmic surprises, but he never showboats. In fact, he's a rather generous leader, and had this band been called the Shai Maestro Trio instead, no one would be the wiser because Cohen gives his pianist wide berth to create the directions in which the music flows. Much of the first half of "The Ever Evolving Etude" is taken up with Maestro's unaccompanied solo, and on songs such as the traditional "Puncha Puncha" and the evocative title track, Cohen and Guiliana step back just far enough to allow Maestro to dictate the main melody. Of course, Cohen makes sure to step into the spotlight often enough to reassure that he is in fact the leader here, and on tracks such as Cohen's own neo-classical "Variations in G Minor" and the traditional Israeli song "Lo Baiom Velo Balyla," Cohen's intricate maneuvering reveals once again the ceaseless creativity of his musicianship.
AllMusic Review by Jeff Tamarkin