Gentle Giants Tal Cohen Inner Circle Music Perth pianist Tal Cohen, now US-based, has become an iconic jazz figure, winning in 2014 the exclusive Australian Freedman Fellowship Award and first place in Detroit’s National Jazz Piano Competition. This collection of his compositions and arrangements features Greg Osby on alto sax, Jamie Oehlers on tenor, Robert Hurst bass and Nate Winn on drums.
First played at Detroit’s Jazz Festival, the opener, Miles Davis’s Nardis, with its dramatic solo bass intro, prompted Cohen’s comment that he especially liked the deep groove that Hurst and Winn brought to his music, a groove that’s apparent throughout. Cohen’s piano style has its roots in Jewish folk songs and classical music, notable here in Lo Haya parts one and two. It’s the style he played growing up in Israel, before moving to Perth at the age of 16.
Gavetsch is inspired by an Israeli-European dish that Cohen says “brought me many unpleasant experiences”. The track begins with abstract piano and alto sax, developing into frantic runs and drumming stabs with increasingly faster tempo and masterful piano.
Great PK refers to the Cohens’ family dog. Like an excited dog the track bounces with a lively groove and a bop melody line.
On Chopin Meets Abach, after a flowing, meditative piano opening the alto arrives in mystic mode, contributing an element of romanticism. Cohen nominates this track as his favourite for its spontaneity.
This album is a successful collaboration between American and Australian artists.