The last show of the Avishai Cohen trio’s latest Ronnie Scott’s residency: this late night set was the first time I’d heard him with his new trio, Azerbaijani pianist Elchin Shirinov and an old school mate of Cohen’s, drummer Noam David.
It is a tough gig for any musician keeping up with Cohen given the extraordinary level of technique and power the former Chick Corea bassist brings to the table, and while David was more than up to the challenge and provided his own fireworks I thought Shirinov took a while to settle. But when he did his rapport with Cohen was pretty clear and the gig really caught fire.
Playing new music which the trio have been recording recently, often shaped around a tiny folkloric figure often rising up from the piano, there were no tune titles provided at all throughout and it was only in the encore when prompted by a heckler and when Cohen sang a beautiful version of Mercedes Sosa’s ‘Alfonsina y El Mar’ that the gig touched on the more familiar given that this gem has been in Cohen’s repertoire for many years.
Cohen has incredible speed at his disposal but more than this it is the way he curls rhythms away from the places you expect them to land that continually surprises and provides such delight. SG