Trumpeter and restless musical spirit Avishai Cohen stays busy.
He just finished a tour with the all-star SFJazz Collective. He tours in tenor saxophonist Mark Turner’s group. And he tours in the 3 Cohens with his reed-player siblings Anat and Yuval. He’s even played in a post-punk band, and he’s been known to extend the possibilities of his horn with electronics.
But sometimes, he just wants to unplug and play his own music freely. For that purpose, he’s assembled a wide-open but hard-charging trio. That band touches down at Take Five Coffee + Bar on Thursday.
On the phone from Tel Aviv, Israel, Cohen says he started the trio in 2007, after the post-punk adventure and some projects that drew heavily on West African influences.
“I played straight-ahead jazz in Israel growing up,” he says, “then drifted away from that. … After that, I really missed blowing, just standing there and playing and swinging.”
But there are many dimensions to the swing of this trio, a band he’s named Triveni.
“It’s a word in Sanskrit, the meeting point of three sacred rivers in India. … I just like that, the notion that each flows from its own place and meets to become one.”
The trio’s sense of adventure is fed by master drummer Nasheet Waits, who’s worked with everybody from Andrew Hill to Jason Moran to Fred Hersch. The regular trio has bassist Eric Revis, from Branford Marsalis’ band, but at the time we spoke to Cohen, it appeared that Revis had to send a sub for this engagement, and he’s a good one: fellow Israeli Tal Mashiach.
Cohen, 36, started on his instrument at 8.
“By age 10, I was playing in two bands,” he says. In a big-band trumpet section, he stood on a box.
Although there were good musicians around Israel, there weren’t many places to play. But “we always found a way to do it,” he says.
As a teen, Cohen headed for the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Then he headed to New York for a while, broadening his horizons by playing in as many bands as possible and making friendships that have proved durable.
His trumpet sound is heavily indebted to Miles Davis, he says, and he also absorbed the Davis ideal of making just a few notes count for everything.
These days Cohen is living in Tel Aviv, where he has two children. (His daughter was having a piano lesson as we spoke, and she’s expressed interest in the drums.) He’s on the road “at least half the time,” he says. Just after the interview, he headed to Paris and a concert with Herbie Hancock. And he’s in New York every month, he says.
Still, the Triveni trio is one of his favorite creative outlets. Since the group has developed such a long history, things are wide-open onstage, he says.
“We’re always in search of being in the right moment. Once you can create from that spot, it’s easier.”
Getting to that spot is the most important thing, he says. “The end result matters less than the actual process.”
The Triveni band appears at 7 p.m. Thursday at Take Five, at 6601 W. 135th St., Suite A-21, in Overland Park, behind the Von Maur store. Tickets are $20 in advance through takefivecoffeebar.com, $25 at the door.
▪ The Blue Room, 1600 E. 18th St., has the Jazz Disciples in charge of the Monday jam, at 7 p.m. Stride pianist Bram Wijnands appears at 7 p.m. Thursday. The vocal group Book of Gaia is on at 8:30 p.m. Friday, and singer Ida McBeth performs at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
▪ Take Five also has bassist Bob Bowman’s trio at 8 p.m. Friday and bassist Dominique Sanders’ trio at 8 p.m. Saturday.
▪ Highlights at the Green Lady Lounge, 1809 Grand Blvd., include pianist Paul Shinn’s trio 8 p.m. Sunday; the group B Vibe at 9 p.m. Monday; the group Dojo at 8 p.m. Tuesday; organist Ken Lovern’s OJT at 9 p.m. Wednesday and again at 9:30 p.m. Saturday; organist Chris Hazelton’s trio at 9 p.m. Thursday; and vibraphonist Peter Schlamb’s Electric Tinks at 8:30 p.m. Friday followed by Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7 at 10 p.m.
▪ The Broadway Jazz Club, 3601 Broadway, has a newish big band led by drummer Jim Lower at 7 p.m. Wednesday; pianist and singer Candace Evans at 7 p.m. Thursday; singer Kelley Gant at 7 p.m. Friday, followed by flutist Amber Underwood at 10:30 p.m.; and singer Angela Hagenbach at 7 p.m. Saturday, followed by bassist Walter Beeson at 10:30 p.m.
▪ The Jazz Underground series at the Westport CoffeeHouse Theatre, 4010 Pennsylvania Ave., has saxophonist Brett Jackson’s group at 8 p.m. Thursday.
To reach Joe Klopus, call 816-234-4751 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.