Avishai Cohen at home

Israel's most successful jazz export will showcase his progress in this year's Hot Jazz series.

avishai cohen (photo credit: )
avishai cohen
(photo credit: )
Of all Israel's jazz exports, Avishai Cohen is undoubtedly the most successful. Next week, the 35-year-old bass player will show local audiences just how far he has taken his craft when he participates in this year's Hot Jazz series. The five-show tour will showcase Cohen's aptly named latest release, At Home, recorded around the time he decided to return to Israel after an 11-year sojourn in New York. Although he still spends much of his time playing in Europe, the United States and Japan, the album title suggests his thoughts have returned to where he was born. The title also alludes to something of an artistic homecoming. His first three albums - Adama, Colors and Devotion - were part of a clear musical continuum based on straightforward, high energy jazz with some Middle Eastern motifs and textures. His 2001 release, Unity, saw Cohen head for the merry waters of salsa. Cohen also earned his keep as a sideman with keyboard legend Chick Corea, gaining a reputation as one of the hottest bass players on the global circuit. A couple of years ago, Corea returned the favor whenhe appeared on Cohen's Lyla, released on the Israeli's then-brand new label, Razdaz Records. While jazz-based, Lyla saw Cohen aiming for greater mass market appeal, with an attractive mix of melodies. At Home signals Cohen's return to more mainstream jazz and the spirit of his first three albums, as he joins forces with the musicians who will act as his sidemen for the upcoming Israeli tour - keyboardist Sam Barsh and percussionist Mark Guiliana. Camelot Club, Herzliya, March 27 at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m.; Gerard Behar Center, Jerusalem, March 29 at 9 p.m.; Museum of Tel Aviv, March 30 at 9 p.m. and March 31 at 9:30 p.m.; Abba Khoushy House, Haifa, April 1, 9 p.m.