Tal Cohen, "Gentle Giants" (Inner Circle Music).
Once upon a time, Greg Osby was a fellow traveler with Steve Coleman in Coleman's M-Base music which was supposed to transform jazz. All of which made Osby, a capable player but seldom a standout, one of the bigger disappointments in all of jazz.
It is now a couple decades later and we have Osby here with a terrific young Israeli pianist and singer turning into the smart, creative player that Coleman's propaganda mill told us he was.
Tal Cohen proves how smart he is right off the bat. "Nardis," the great Miles Davis tune that Bill Evans loved but astonishingly few jazz musicians have ever played, begins the disc with great solos from both Cohen and Osby. Cohen's original tunes are apt to be dedicated to family members, pet dogs, ducks that cross his path and Israeli food. Lest anyone think him a lightweight, listen to the tender, impressionistic title composition inspired by Chopin and Scriabin, musicians who, to Cohen, seem so formidable from afar but so approachable from closeup. It features Cohen and his bass player, Wynton's and the Tonight Show Band's Robert Hurst, in a solo.
Cohen is both an angular and original jazz pianist and composer at the same time that he's an interesting leader. He's going to be very much worth keeping up with.
3 1/2 stars (out of four)