Avishai Cohen

Naked Truth
(ECM)

Pandemic-induced isolation has spawned a steady stream of inward, searching albums, and Israeli trumpeter Avishai Cohen’s brief, brooding, starkly beautiful Naked Truth is one of the most compelling to date.

Consisting of eight unnamed parts capped by a ninth featuring an inspiring existential poem by the late Zelda Schneurson Mishkovsky, Naked Truth often dwells in the remote, minimalist realm conjured by some Scandinavian jazz, with Cohen’s muted trumpet hanging over diffuse rhythms like a faint full moon in a pale morning sky. This is not music that socks you in the teeth, but give it a little time and it will enchant you.

The quartet features musicians Cohen has recorded with individually but never together, and the accent is on free, conversational ensemble development. In Part II, pianist Yonathan Avishai introduces the piece’s principal theme as a rippling arpeggio, with Cohen repeating a slow, yearning motif above it. The music is by and large consonant, but in Part III, the pianist drifts pleasantly out of the harmony with a series of creamy, broken chords. Drummer Ziv Ravitz introduces Part IV with ceremonial mallets, Cohen bugling over bassist Barak Mori’s warm answer lines, followed by a splattered accelerando to the finish.

In Part V, the sun comes out, as Avishai’s piano limns a sweet, pantonal hymn filled with joy and sadness, an ambivalence continued in Part VII with a beautifully resolved melody that somehow also feels desolate. Part VIII shimmers with an anxious, animated pulse, Cohen reaching for high, wheezy notes and Avishai bringing the unnamed parts to a definitive close.



On Sale Now
August 2022
Jon Batiste
Look Inside
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