Avishai Cohen (bassist)

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Avishai Cohen
Avishai Cohen BFJ 1 (cropped).jpg
Cohen, Brosella Folk & Jazz, Brussels, 2010
Background information
Born (1970-04-20) April 20, 1970 (age 49)
Kibbutz Kabri, Israel
GenresJazz, ethno jazz, folk jazz, jazz fusion
InstrumentsBass, vocals
Years active1993-present
LabelsRazdaz, Stretch, Blue Note
Associated actsChick Corea New Trio, Heernt

Avishai Cohen (Hebrew: אבישי כהן; born April 20, 1970) is an Israeli jazz double bassist, composer, singer, and arranger.

Early life[edit]

Avishai was born in Kabri, a kibbutz in northern Israel.[1] He grew up in a musical family at Motza and Beit Zayit near Jerusalem until the age of six, when his family moved to Shoeva, western Israel. He began playing the piano at 9 years old, but changed to the bass guitar at the age of 14, inspired by bassist Jaco Pastorius.[2] Later, after playing in an Army band for two years, he began studying upright bass with Michael Klinghoffer. Two years later he moved to New York City, and got in contact with other jazz players. At the beginning of his stay there he had to struggle, working in jobs like construction. According to him his first year there was the most difficult year of his life, having to play bass in the streets, subways and parks. He studied music at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, and after playing Latin jazz in a few bands in his student years, Cohen was approached by pianist Danilo Pérez to join his trio.[3]


Avishai Cohen in Uppsala, 2015

After a long period of performing in small clubs, Cohen got a phone call from the jazz pianist Chick Corea and was given a record contract. In 1996, he became a founding member of Corea's sextet Origin, and his first four albums as a leader were subsequently released under Corea's Stretch label.[3] Cohen performed in Corea's bands until as late as 2003, when he left the Chick Corea New Trio and started his own record label; he currently performs with his own group, the Avishai Cohen Trio (with fellow Israelis Daniel Dor on drums and Nitai Hershkovits on piano). His later albums have been released by this formation with extended lineup including wind instruments.

Aside from Corea, Cohen has accompanied, recorded or performed with several noted jazz figures such as Bobby McFerrin, Roy Hargrove, Herbie Hancock, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Nnenna Freelon and Paquito D'Rivera.[3] Other collaborators include Claudia Acuña (Wind from the South, 2000), Alicia Keys (studio recording) and the London and Israel Philharmonic Orchestras (concert performances).[3] Cohen has been cited as "undoubtedly the most successful" of Israel's jazz exports by The Jerusalem Post[citation needed] a "jazz visionary of global proportions" by Down Beat, one of the 100 Most Influential Bass Players of the 20th Century by Bass Player magazine,[3] and "a great composer" and "a genius musician" by Chick Corea himself.[4]

Razdaz Recordz[edit]

Avishai Cohen Trio in Uppsala, 2015

In 2002, Cohen founded his record label, Razdaz Recordz, and on September 9 of 2003, released his label's debut album, Lyla. "I've always been interested in several genres of music, including jazz, rock, pop, Latin and funk," says Cohen. "I'm always packed with ideas. I decided to start my own label because I'm involved in so many different projects."[5] (Avishai Cohen, 2003) As of 2012, the label had produced 12 albums, five of which were Cohen's. Other artists associated with the label include pianist Sam Barsh, saxophonist Jimmy Green, flutist Ilan Salem, and guitarist Amos Hoffman. Also produced by Razdaz are the works of some of Cohen's associates such as drummer Mark Guiliana, who performed with Cohen on two of his albums. Razdaz produced an album for Guiliana'a band HEERNT in 2006. Razdaz also produced Lady of The Forest, the first album of the singer Karen Malka, in 2010. Karen had been touring with Cohen for three years prior. The most recent production of the label is Ilan Salem's album Wild, which is Ilan's third album, though it is his first under Razdaz.


Lyla is the first album released by Cohen's Razdaz Recordz. The album was lauded for its genre breaking diversity. Cohen reflects on his work, "Lyla reflects much of who I am as an artist. The International Vamp Band has been touring for two years and I wanted to document that. I also started a rock band Gadu with Israeli drummer named Mike Starr dubbed by 'Drummer magazine' as one of the most aggressive drummers in Jazz and some young musicians who are graduates of William Paterson College. It's creating a buzz in New York, I have been exploring a lot of new territory. I've also been working on pop tunes with a female vocalist named Lola. And, of course, to show the whole picture on the CD, I wanted to acknowledge my relationship to Chick. I've been associated with him for six years and have played hundreds of shows in his bands, so we're very connected."[6]


Cohen's signature sound is a blend of Middle Eastern, eastern European, and African-American musical idioms.[7] The New York Times describes his 2006 album Continuo as conjoining "heavy Middle Eastern groove with a delicate, almost New Age lyricism".[8] Cohen often sings in Judaeo-Spanish (Ladino), to which he has a connection through his mother. For example, "Morenika", from his album Aurora, is a very famous Ladino song he grew up hearing his mother singing around the house.[9]



Year Album Peak positions

1998 Adama[13]
1999 Devotion[14]
2000 Colors[15]
2001 Unity[16]
2003 Lyla[17]
2005 At Home[18]
2006 Continuo[19]
2007 As Is...Live at the Blue Note[20]
2008 Sha'ot Regishot[21]
(in English: Sensitive hours)
2008 Gently Disturbed[22]
(as Avishai Cohen Trio)
2009 Aurora[23] 71
2011 Seven Seas[24] 58 31
2012 Duende[25]
(with Nitai Hershkovits)
79 63
2013 Almah[26] 85
2015 From Darkness[27]
2017 1970[28] 166 102
2019 Arvoles[30]

As sideman

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Avishai Cohen and all that jazz". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  2. ^ Albert, Don (2006-07-27). "Soaking up sound". Tonight. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
  3. ^ a b c d e Auskern, Leonid (2005-07-13). "Avishai Cohen :: interview". Jazz News. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
  4. ^ Varga, George (2007-05-03). "Who made you God?". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
  5. ^ "Razdaz Recordz". Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
  6. ^ Cohen, Avishai. "Razdaz Recordz Catalogue Lyla". Archived from the original on 27 November 2013. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
  7. ^ Fordham, John (2003-10-22). "Avishai Cohen". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
  8. ^ Chinen, Nate (2006-09-01). "The Listings - September 1 - September 7; AVISHAI COHEN QUINTET/THE THREE COHENS". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
  9. ^ Gerrie, Anthea (2010-04-22). "Israel's jazz legend owes it all to his mum". Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 2014-10-26.
  10. ^ "Avishai Cohen discography". ultratop.be/nl/. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 28 May 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  11. ^ "Avishai Cohen discography". lescharts.com. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 14 June 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  12. ^ "Avishai Cohen discography". swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 11 June 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  13. ^ "Adama ‹ Avishai Cohen". AvishaiCohen.com. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
  14. ^ "Devotion ‹ Avishai Cohen". AvishaiCohen.com. 1999-03-27. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
  15. ^ "Colors ‹ Avishai Cohen". AvishaiCohen.com. 2000-06-15. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
  16. ^ "Unity ‹ Avishai Cohen". AvishaiCohen.com. 2001-04-24. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
  17. ^ "Lyla ‹ Avishai Cohen". AvishaiCohen.com. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
  18. ^ "At Home ‹ Avishai Cohen". AvishaiCohen.com. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
  19. ^ "Continuo ‹ Avishai Cohen". AvishaiCohen.com. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
  20. ^ "As Is… ‹ Avishai Cohen". AvishaiCohen.com. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
  21. ^ "Sensitive Hours ‹ Avishai Cohen". AvishaiCohen.com. 2008-09-26. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
  22. ^ "Gently Disturbed ‹ Avishai Cohen". AvishaiCohen.com. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
  23. ^ "Aurora ‹ Avishai Cohen". AvishaiCohen.com. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
  24. ^ "Seven Seas ‹ Avishai Cohen". AvishaiCohen.com. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
  25. ^ "Duende ‹ Avishai Cohen". AvishaiCohen.com. 2012-05-21. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
  26. ^ "Almah ‹ Avishai Cohen". AvishaiCohen.com. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
  27. ^ "From Darkness ‹ Avishai Cohen". AvishaiCohen.com. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
  28. ^ "1970 ‹ Avishai Cohen". AvishaiCohen.com. Retrieved 2017-10-10.
  29. ^ "Le Top de la semaine : Top Albums – SNEP (Week 41, 2017)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  30. ^ "Arvoles". AvishaiCohen.com. Retrieved 2019-06-17.

External links[edit]