Looking back, there must be hundreds or perhaps thousands of album titles that designate some reference to a river, regardless of their genre. But talented pianist Ryan Cohan does impart a distinctive stylization within the grand scope of this thoroughly modern jazz oeuvre, inspired by a recent U.S. State Department-sponsored tour of East Africa, and intersected with his Chicago roots. His septet seamlessly binds soul blues, African pop, and the jazz idiom, via concise, razor-sharp arrangements, often executed with the aplomb of a little big band. Cohan's methodology offers intermittent detours, playful digressions, and frolicsome free-form burnouts. Cohan ...read more
Unlike many of his past releases, Ryan Cohan's Another Look focuses heavily on group interaction and improvisation. Penning all but two of the tunes on the album, the pianist's arrangements allow his musicians maximum flexibility. That the CD's main quartet has been playing together since 2003, and was on the road for six straight weeks before this session, further adds to the group identity found on this recording. The main quartet does, indeed, make this album come alive. Lorin Cohen's bass work raises itself to a level where it must be noticed his solo on Song For ...read more
Ryan Cohan, Geof BradfieldMillennium Park Pritzker Pavilion Chicago, ILAugust 11, 2011 The heat wave broke in Chicago and, weather-wise, the night was shaping up to be one of the best all summer. African Journeys, featuring Ryan Cohan and Geof Bradfield, began as saxophonist Bradfield's group took the stage to perform his extended work, African Flowers." Shortly after a brief musical introduction, Bradfield reminded the audience of the trip that had inspired his set and pianist Cohan's piece that was to follow. Back in 2008, the Ryan Cohan Quartet was chosen by the ...read more
In 2005, Ryan Cohan received a grant from Chamber Music America to create one long-form composition on a subject of his choosing. One year later, he debuted the piece during a free concert at Skidmore Jazz Institute in Saratoga Springs, New York, where he has been both student and educator. The audience heard a work of stunning scope, color, nuance and energy that night; One Sky captures that lightning in a bottle, and Cohan's liner notes give the listener a good sense of his creative motivation.
In his explanation of One Sky: Tone Poems for Humanity, Cohan quotes ...read more