For the 3 Cohens jazz is a family affair. Tel-Aviv, Israel natives Anat, Yuval and Avishai Cohen are three siblings who share an affinity for the intricacies of jazz, and through clarinet, saxophone and trumpet, the trio have delivered some intricate melodies on their second release, Braid.
In fact, Braid is the perfect name for this album: the music is just the right blend of impromptu jazz moments, playing over piano and drums — it's more like the interweaving strands of a braided throw-rug than your standard, predictable jazz album.
The 3 Cohens aren't afraid to try new things and experiment with melody and rhythm, adding an eclectic blend of Middle Eastern traditional folk to the North American jazz elements. Of course, it also helps that it's all in the family, and you can feel the intimacy and interaction between the siblings on every note.
The album kicks off with "Navad (The Wanderer)," a fast-paced horn collective that mixes elements of modern jazz and bebop with some traditional motifs thrown in to signal the trio's roots. Backing the band and keeping them straight rhythmically are pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Omer Avital and drummer Eric Harland, and the drum work on "Navad" shines; the band sticks to a 6/8 time signature, but keeps the syncopation loose as the 3 Cohens groove out saxophone and trumpet melodies.
Even though Braid has a modern jazz feel, the music shows the band members are not afraid to borrow from the past. In their own original and innovative way, 3 Cohens have used the traditional Israeli melodies, and in songs like "T'fila (Prayer)," the band mixes up the jazz feel for a few measures and adds in some folk-driven melodies and rhythmic structure. On "U-Valley," the song rides along with piano/saxophone arpeggios that sound like a traditional dance movement, but has a pace reminiscent of swing-era jazz at the same time.