Two Roses – a metaphor for the album’s fusion of jazz and the symphonic world – is the result of a process which began in 2013 when composer, bassist and singer Avishai Cohen recorded his album Almah, with his trio and small chamber ensemble.
Performed by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, this set shows Cohen’s broad musical influences. They range from Afro-Caribbean to Israeli folklore, Middle Eastern, Slavic and Russian cultures, plus jazz classics and all that makes for an engaging listen.
There is a strong theatrical element to much of the music, and that is down to the lush arrangements and the passion with which Cohen himself delivers some of the songs. At times it feels dangerously sugar-coated, like we’re entering the world of a Disney stage show, with every last emotion being wrung from the material. And yet, overall, it works.
Thad Jones’s lovely A Child Is Born is one example where things feels slightly over the top, but elsewhere the tone is just right with a nostalgia-tinged sadness that works.
Almah Sleeping; When I’m Falling; Song For My Brother; Two Roses (Shnei Shoshanim); Nature Boy; Emotional Storm; Puncha; Arab Medley; A Child Is Born; Alon Basela; Morenika; Nature Talking (62.32)
Cohen (v, b); Elchin Shirinov (p); Mark Guiliana (d); Alexander Hanson (cond); Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. No location or date given.
Naïve/believe records M7369