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Avishai Cohen with the International Vamp Band: Unity

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An aptly named sextet-three musicians from Israel, the others from Argentina, Mexico and Cuba, and they play lots of uneventful vamps. The preponderance of one-chord tunes, peppy Latin rhythms and Cohen’s history of playing bass with Chick Corea’s groups might suggest this album is a Corea offshoot. To the contrary, Cohen is only a modestly melodic composer and his arrangements are fussy, with long static sections and occasional overdubbed group vocals. This time the leader plays piano, mostly in the Latin-band rhythm section; he is also the principal soloist, improvising rhythmic figures and some overdubbed electric bass. Several of the songs are in odd meters, yet Cohen’s accompaniments, bassist Yagil Baras’ downbeats and Antonio Sanchez’s bright, eighth-note-centered drumming make most of the album at least sound Latin-there is, though, the one nonoriginal, the ballad “A Child Is Born.”

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