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New York seems definitely to be the privileged destination for Israeli jazzmen who blend harmoniously into the local scene.

The latest of these emigrants is a young 25 year old guitarist named Tomer Cohen. For his first album under his own name, he chose the trio formula, which – according to the videos of him on YouTube – seems to be his favorite type of formation.

It allows him, in a setting where he is the main soloist, to play with a remarkable fluidity of phrasing and a great elegance on the medium tempos.

Here and there he indulges in short accelerations where his control of the neck is totally bluffing, especially since Cohen has an original technique which mixes playing with the pick and fingerpicking.

There is no trace of influences from the Scofield/Metheny/Frisell triad in this guitarist who favors a clear sound without pedal effects or other gimmicks. On a repertoire entirely devoted to his own compositions, Cohen shows a predilection for singing themes where melodic and harmonic folk influences appear here and there.

For this first recording Tomer Cohen has surrounded himself with two pillars of the New York scene: the New Zealand bassist Matt Penmann who has multiplied sideman sessions since his arrival in the Big Apple in the middle of the 90’s, and Obed Calvaire, a drummer in his early 40’s who can be heard in a big band with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis as well as in a small group with bassist Dave Holland.

Two eclectic musicians, then, who offer their leader a comfortable and stimulating base while functioning more as full partners than as a simple rhythm section.

This is a very mature record that doesn’t sound like a performance for guitar fans but a collective effort that focuses on musicality rather than virtuosity.

Tomer Cohen is clearly a musician to follow very closely !

Line up :

Tomer Cohen : guitar, composition

Matt Penman : double bass

Obed Calvaire : drums

Not the Same River is released by Hypnote Records

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