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Avishai Cohen (bassist)

One of the great virtuosos of the string bass, Avishai Cohen (not to be confused with the trumpeter of the same name) was the first Israeli to become a major jazz musician. He was born in Israel in 1970 and was originally a pianist, starting when he was 11. Cohen played piano with his high school jazz band but, inspired by Jaco Pastorius, switched to the electric bass, eventually doubling on acoustic. He attended the Music & Arts High School in Jerusalem, served in the Israeli Army for two years, and gigged in Israel. In 1992 he moved to New York, at first working day jobs and studying music at Mannes College. Soon he was an important part of the New York jazz scene and he has worked with Brad Mehldau, Ravi Coltrane, Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Paquito D’Rivera, Roy Hargrove, Leon Parker, Bobby McFerrin, Nnenna Freelon, Claudia Acuna and Danilo Perez, recording Panamonk with Perez in 1996. His most important association was with Chick Corea, who signed Cohen to his Stretch label, recorded his first album (Adama), and featured him playing with his quintet Origin and with his trio. The musical communication between Cohen and Corea was often remarkable. Avishai Cohen, who recorded with Alicia Keys in 2003 and has performed with a few philharmonic orchestras, has led CDs of his own for Stretch and his own RazDaz label. His current trio features pianist Shai Maestro and drummer Mark Guiliana.