Avishai Cohen

Into the Silence

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Trumpeter Avishai Cohen's ECM debut, 2016's Into the Silence, is a ruminative, elegiac album far -- if not completely -- removed from the kinetic, aggressive post-bop of his 2014 effort, Dark Nights. As with all ECM releases, Into the Silence was produced by label founder Manfred Eicher and, as such, fits nicely into the catalog next to works by the late trumpeter Kenny Wheeler and others. In some ways, Cohen's move toward a more classical, ambient sound makes sense, as he is recording material specifically with the ECM stylistic tradition in mind. Sadly, Cohen also composed these songs in the wake of his father's death, and the trumpeter's grief seems to permeate everything on Into the Silence. He even bookends the album with the funereal "Life and Death," in which he moans, Miles Davis-like, through muted trumpet, his band in a slow march beside him. Joining Cohen here are avant-garde-friendly saxophonist Bill McHenry and several longtime associates, pianist Yonathan Avishai, bassist Eric Revis, and drummer Nasheet Waits. The group members have an organic, focused intensity as if they hang on each phrase together. This intensity is well matched by Eicher's production, which sounds typically warm and full of natural reverb, as if recorded in a church instead of Studios La Buissonne in Pernes-les-Fontaines, France. Other tracks, like the slowly rolling "Dream Like a Child" and the quietly discordant "Behind the Broken Glass," also benefit from this group interplay, with Cohen leading his band through ambient soundscapes that, much like one's emotions after the death of a loved one, are supple and sad one minute, and sharp and tangled the next.

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