Lovely Recordings: Hosted by Joel Alperson

Avishai Cohen: Continuo (Sunnyside Records, 2006)

This album marked my introduction to jazz. Sure I had heard jazz albums before, but I never connected with them. Of all things, I learned of this album through a reviewer from Israel who was auditioning a system at CES with a track which completely captivated me. It turned out I was listening to Avishai Cohen’s album, Continuo. The track was "Nu Nu".

I remember it wasn’t only the sound I heard, but colors spilling out of the speakers. I couldn’t believe it. I just loved the music. I couldn’t decide what mattered more—that I was enjoying the experience or the possibility of being introduced to a whole new genre of music.

After the reviewer left the exhibitor’s room I waited for him to finish talking to someone and then I anxiously approached and asked about the track I heard. He told me I had been listening to a trio headed by Avishai Cohen, a wonderful Israeli bass player.

I purchased the album when I returned home and I couldn’t listen to it often enough. The various textures and directions the music took amazed me. It was as if I had developed a sixth sense—the ability to appreciate a whole new form of music. I was anxious to learn more.

Avishai Cohen

Soon after, I read an interview with Avishai Cohen in Bass Player magazine where he spoke of the tremendous influence Ray Brown, possibly the greatest jazz bassist of all time, had on him. So of course I had to look into Ray Brown.

Well that was it. I was on a mad dash through the sub-genre I would later learn is called 'hard bop". Ray Brown played with Oscar Peterson so then I was listening to Oscar Peterson, then Gene Harris and then on to many others.

If I ever have the pleasure of meeting Avishai Cohen, I’ll thank him not only for the remarkable music he has written and performed, but also for introducing me to jazz.

How do you thank someone for such a gift?

Continuo is available from HDtracks.

Joel's system self portrait

I started in this hobby at the age of 16 with a pair of larger Advent speakers and a Technics receiver, cassette deck, and turntable. A pair of Dahlquist DQ-10 speakers and Phase Linear 400 power amplifier followed along with an Apt Holman preamp. Many systems, albums, downloads and audio shows later, I’m ready to enter the audiophile wing of the Betty Ford clinic . . . but only if my room has really good acoustics.

garrettnecessary's picture

I love jazz bass -- from Oscar Pettiford and Jimmy Blanton to Ray Brown and Mingus and Paul Chambers to Scottie La Faro and onward. Can't wait to listen! Thanks!

joelha's picture

If you like Ray Brown, then I have to recommend Super Bass 2 (the banter from Ray Brown is great, as well as the bass playing) and Live at Starbucks (No kidding. Starbucks put it out and it's fabulous).

Marcin_gps's picture

Hi Joel,

I didn't expect to see you here! I'll be watching your posts with interest :) And it's nice to see your system - looks great!

I also like bass players. My personal favorite is Charlie Haden who sadly passed away last year.


Michael Lavorgna's picture
I really enjoy his playing on Don Cherry's "Art Deco".
joelha's picture

Hey Marcin,

While, I don't expect to be a regular article contributor to this site, I'm still grateful for this opportunity.

Thanks for the comment about my system. I enjoy it a great deal.

And thanks for the comment about Charlie Haden. I have some of his work and he's done a lot of great albums.


crenca's picture

"This album marked my introduction to jazz. Sure I had heard jazz albums before, but I never connected with them. "

I never connected with piano trio's - I did not "connect" with Bill and Keith and the like. Then I heard a Shai Maestro recording and suddenly it all clicked.

Must be something in the water over there...

joelha's picture

I couldn't agree more.
Well, if you like Avishai Cohen and Shai Maestro (he's also great), then you'll want to check out Yonathan Avishai's album Soledad.
It's fantastic.

canuckmgh's picture

Apart from buying their music, go to a show if possible. Ideally, should they come out to meet and greet the audience afterward, just say "thanks for coming to town". My brother's a jazz double-bass player and he and his pals derive much pleasure not only performing, but also chatting with audience members between sets or following a gig. This obviously happens more frequently in bars, pubs and other smaller venues, but the few times I've managed to meet a better-known (usually jazz) musician, the reaction is typically genuine and appreciative.


canuckmgh's picture

As leaders, support or in a band: Dave Holland, Jaco Pastorius, Ben Williams, Mats Eilertsen, Geddy Lee ;-), John Patitucci, Eberhard Weber, Arild Andersen, Scott Colley, Chris Thomas, Harish Raghavan, Lars Danielsson, Larry Grenadier, Dan Berglund and too many others to name...