Monday, October 31, 2011

Yuval Cohen Song Without Words Anzic Records 2010

Musical whimsy lacking substance turned inward quickly becomes the smoother side of jazz. Musical whimsy expressed with substance becomes organic food for soul, such is the case with Yuval Cohen and Song Without Words.

Song Without Words is a post bop sonic exploratory, a musical conversation between old friends where both evocative originals fuse with jazz standards and odd metered arrangement of the John Coltrane tune 26/2. There is an intended innocence that flows effortlessly throughout this release. From pianist Shai Maestro's "Nehama"  to the Hoagy Carmichael classic "Skylark" there is a free flowing independence of musical ideas, playing in the moment without concern for specific form or functionality.

"Bye Bye Blackbird" is a playful tune developing slowly and cautiously as Cohen and Maestro each put a delightful melodic spin on the piece until the full melody is revealed much later. "Skylark" is slowed down to a literal crawl, full of wistful expression and endearing melancholy, a tune played with great finesse and caring as is fitting this most iconic of standards.

Nature Song closes this release and is perhaps the perfect mirror image of the cover art. A tune of clarity that is simple yet expansive in thought but oddly accessible. Cohen and Maestro are symbiotic musical twins working in a cohesive musical presentation of intensity and transparency of ideas.

Yuval Cohen graduated the prestigious Berklee College of Music in 1996, in 2010 Yuval received his Masters in Composition from the Rubin Academy for Music and Dance in Jerusalem. Song Without Words is a beautiful testament to an artist bearing his soul for the world to see and doing so in a way that communicates the child like wonder with which he still views music today.

Personell: Yuval Cohen: soprano saxophone; Shai Maestro: piano.

Yuval tours extensively with the 3 Cohens as well as his own projects