Naked Truth

Naked Truth

On his fifth ECM release, NYC-based trumpeter Avishai Cohen leads a quartet close to the one on 2017’s Cross My Palm With Silver, but with drummer Ziv Ravitz in place of Nasheet Waits. Cohen’s chemistry with pianist Yonathan Avishai is again a central feature, as it was on the 2019 duo release Playing the Room and also Cohen’s 2016 ECM debut, Into the Silence. The music of Naked Truth lands differently, however, its continuous untitled movements adding up to a loose and abstract suite. It closes with a ballad, on which Cohen puts down the horn and offers a spoken-word recitation of “Departure” by the late Israeli writer Zelda Schneurson Mishkovsky, parsing the phrases and elusive meanings in a manner not so far removed from his trumpet playing. Bassist Barak Mori doubles Avishai’s piano in the suite’s more composed moments to create a driving, textured, precise ensemble sound. Each quartet piece tends to boil upward in intensity, while the opening trumpet-bass duo of “Part 1,” the solo piano of “Part 5,” and the solo drums of “Part 6” function as doorways to the unexpected.

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