Avishai Cohen is a leading figure on the international jazz scene and one of the most sought-after players of his generation—“an assertive and accomplished trumpeter with a taste for modernism,” according to Nate Chinen of The New York Times. Though deeply rooted in the bebop and post-bop tradition, Avishai is taking jazz in new directions, making waves as an improviser, composer and bandleader. Originally from Tel Aviv, he began performing at age 10. He toured the world with the Young Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra and went on to become the trumpet player of choice for many leading jazz, rock, pop, studio and television projects. He received a full scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and in 1997 he placed third in the prestigious Thelonious Monk Jazz Trumpet Competition.
Avishai came of age as part of the fertile scene at Smalls, the storied New York jazz club, where he developed his artistic vision alongside such friends and colleagues as pianist Jason Lindner, bassist Omer Avital and vocalist Claudia Acuña. Here the imperatives of jazz tradition and innovation were not in conflict, but rather merged into one powerful creative stream. Avishai flourished in an environment where hard-driving swing, open-ended funk, Latin and Middle Eastern rhythms, complex extended forms and free improvisation converged under one roof, drawing enthusiastic audiences. All of Avishai’s diverse work, as a leader, co-leader and sideman, is informed by this broad-minded legacy, which has given jazz new vitality and relevance in the 21st century.