Bassist Lorin Cohen, born and raised in Chicago and currently living in New York, has toured extensively with the great Monty Alexander. And so it is only natural that the Caribbean also finds its way onto this diverse and exciting album.
Lorin wanted to use mallet instruments for his eight compositions and he got an ace team of people surrounding him here: master vibraphonist Joe Locke is featured throughout the album and leads, together with the bassist, the opening track “Crossings” which also could have been the title for the CD. The sweet harmonica of Yvonnick Prene opens “Always In My Heart” before the steel pan of Victor Provost sets in. The input of the Caribbean is clearly felt on this one and the combination of both these instruments is really something. Lorin is featured on a swinging bass solo and connects the dots. It’s a brilliantly dodgy track with various time changes and a wonderful palette of rhythms.
My current favorite track is the varied and intoxicating “Finding Center” with its harsh tempo and fantstic vibes solo by Joe. The leader and his versatility on his intrument is a wonderful new discovery. Donald Edwards on drums and Samuel Torres on percussion add to the exciting mix on this one. Pianist Ryan Cohan is heard on the opening bars of “Anthem”, where he is featured later, another fascinatingly chameleonic composition with a lot of soul.
Lorin changes to bowed bass on his dedication to his father, “The Sweetest Soul”, where the steel pan connects in bittersweet ways. The song never really gets going; it is rather a statement in wholehearted form. Back to the Caribbean on “Saudade” where harmonica and steel pan take over again – what a neat pair! Lorin plays a solo here that sounds as if he’s talking before Victor chimes in again with panache and verve. Play this one loud! The harmonica serves as something like a cushion.
Lorin concludes his debut album with a joyful, uplifting “A Brighter Day” where steel pan, harmonica, and percussion combine to celebrate all things positive.