In the high-ceilinged atrium of the World Financial Center’s Winter Garden, Israeli bassist Avishai Cohen gave a free concert Saturday in a forest of palm trees. The show was part of Daniel Pearl World Music Days, an international network of concerts honoring the slain American journalist. For the project’s mission of reaffirming a commitment to tolerance and humanity, there was no better choice than Cohen.
Cohen was born in Israel in 1970 to a musical family. Inspired by legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius, he took up electric bass as a child. After serving in an Israel Defense Forces army band, Cohen moved to New York, where he lived for 12 years, working with artists in the city’s Latin jazz community, and playing alongside pianist and composer Chick Corea. After releasing four albums with Corea, Cohen launched a solo career on his own label, Razdaz Recordz. Now based in Tel Aviv, Cohen is back in the United States in support of his latest album, “Aurora.” Cohen’s 11th release, “Aurora” is the first to showcase his vocals, and includes songs in Hebrew, English, Spanish and Ladino, the language of Cohen’s Sephardic roots.