About a Tree (Oyfn Weg Shteyt a Boym)
Two Roses (Shnei Shoshanim)
Tres Hermanicas Eran
Aley Givàa (Bonus Track)
In One (Bonus Track)
Israeli bassist, vocalist and composer Avishai Cohen came into the spotlight in the ‘90s as a member of Origin, a sextet led by the pianist Chick Corea, who released Cohen’s first few solo albums. On Seven Seas, Cohen combines jazz, pop, Latin, and traditional Jewish elements to create a distinctive sound. “Dreaming” and “About a Tree (Oyfn Weg Shteyt a Bohm)” feature wordless vocals; the first track has a nice Latin-tinged stretch, and the latter cut has a pleasing Jewish-flavored melody. The title track is an uptempo smoker with Shai Maestro’s piano evoking Afro-Cuban music, and Itomar Doari’s charged percussion recalling both the Caribbean and the Middle East. And Cohen’s bass — bowed and pizzicato — is on fire. “Ani Aff” finds Karen Malka and Cohen intoning Hebrew lyrics with a punchy horn section behind them. “Hayo Hayta” is the sort of finely rendered chamber jazz you might hear on an ECM release. “Tres Hermanicas Eran,” with an unaccompanied Cohen on piano and vocals, closes the album. The gentle, moody song features lyrics in Ladino, or Judeo-Spanish.