All About Jazz Review: 3 Cohens "Tightrope"

October 17th, 2013

_ from allaboutjazz.com_

3 Cohens: Tightrope (2013)
By: Dan Bilawsky

It shouldn’t come as a shock that the 3 Cohens stress the idea of interconnectedness in their music; soprano saxophonist Yuval Cohen, multi-reedist Anat Cohen and trumpeter Avishai Cohen are, after all, blood. With albums like One (Anzic, 2004), Braid (Anzic, 2007) and Family (Anzic, 2011), these three horn-playing siblings have made it clear that they’re forever linked to one another in life and music, but they don’t always address these bonds in the same fashion. Braid, for example, was all about a horns-and-rhythm band dynamic, with stylistic diversity and sonic consistency at the heart of the matter. Tightrope, on the other hand, is about making a mold and breaking a mold.

Tightrope is a multifaceted outing with bountiful helpings of horns-only music and tangential offerings that allow for other parties to join in on the action. The 3 Cohens, sans guests, work through originals, classics and spur-of-the- moment “Conversation” pieces that highlight a shared chemistry and wit. They reference saxophonist Gerry Mulligan’s What Is There To Say? (Columbia, 1959) via bluesy performances of “Festive Minor” and “Blueport,” touch on bop with “Hot House,” look back to Louis Armstrong with “Indiana,” and return to their roots with “Ai Li Lu Li Lu,” a Yiddish lullaby that their mother sang to them as children. The five “Conversation” tracks, the longest of which runs just over two minutes, aren’t fully formed pieces, yet they provide a window into the relationship(s) between these masterful musicians. Avishai’s brief-and-hip “Mantra” doesn’t fall into either the history-based or open source categories of music, yet it deserves mention precisely for this reason; it’s a hip-as-hell album closer that stands just fine on its own.

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