2

Anat Cohen at Davidson College

Perry Tannenbaum By

Sign in to view read count
Softer, louder, and softer again, Cohen wailed on until the band mostly peeled away so she could blaze through a final cadenza. It felt like everyone had stopped to watch something primal and sacred.
Anat Cohen/Davidson College Jazz Ensemble & Jazz Combo
Davidson College / Duke Family Performance Hall
Davidson, NC
April 21, 2017

We've known for a long time that Anat Cohen can electrify audiences whenever she picks up her clarinet and plays. After her recent residency at Davidson College, we can now proclaim that she has a similar effect on jazz students—and faculty. At the public concert that concluded the residency, Professor Bill Lawing, after leading the Davidson College Jazz Ensemble behind Cohen, struggled to find sufficiently effusive words to describe what she had achieved in a few short days. To adequately measure it, Lawing said, we would need to have heard what his band had sounded like when they began rehearsals.

The concert itself followed an arc similar to the one hinted at by Lawing, with some fairly radical advances along the way as the band's confidence grew and their soloists had more space to shine. Before Cohen made her entrance, the Jazz Ensemble made theirs with an arrangement of Slide Hampton's "Go East, Young Man" where scant spots were doled out for pianist Tyler Holman and guitarist Matthew Bell to play on. Even when Cohen appeared with her clarinet, the impulse to showcase band members continued in the first two arrangements by Oded Lev-Ari. Anat's solos were both cool and hot on Ernesto Lacuona's "La comparsa" in between Ensemble interludes. Then Cohen picked up the tenor sax that was pre-set at centerstage near her mic and played a bunch of solos on Johnny Griffin's "Do It" that never quite gathered momentum, as the collegians' intervening solos swept from one side of the five-person sax section to the other. It was a good time for Cohen and the band to get more relaxed as she spoke briefly about working with the students earlier in the week and tested our familiarity with Julie London by way of moving on to Lev-Ari's arrangement of "Cry Me a River."

Returning to clarinet, Anat gave us our first really deep swig of her soulfulness in a chart that confined the Ensemble to taking the first half of the bridge—both during the first pass through the melody and during the clarinetist's solo. She opened up even more compellingly with a cadenza to cap off the out chorus. By some sort of alchemy, the band became more articulate in their soloing after Cohen told the story about how she and her combo were jamming one night on Luiz Bonfa's "Samba de Orfeo" and found themselves playing Satchmo's vintage "Struttin' With Some Barbecue." Referring to the Lev-Ari medley that resulted, Anat said, "So we decided to make it official." Perhaps the spontaneity crept into the band by osmosis through Cohen's anecdote, but as we went into intermission, the band finally seemed to be enjoying the jolt of playing with their celebrated new mentor.

It seemed cruel to pare the Ensemble down to combo size at the moment that everyone was rounding into top form, but there was a density to the arrangements of Duke Ellington's "The Mooche" and Cohen's "Tfila" that lifted the concert to a higher, tighter level. On Cohen's arrangement of Duke's composition, we finally heard Anat's full magic on clarinet for the first time. "Tfila" was by far the superior foray by Cohen onto her tenor sax with a couple of nice spots by Ken Lee, switching here from alto to soprano. There was a distinctive part written for trumpet embedded in the out chorus after Cohen's sublime solo and a superb coda for trumpet and a pair of saxophones. A new infusion of jubilation spread through the hall as the remainder of the Ensemble returned, mainly to add muscle to the backup as Cohen dominated the soloing more completely.

In her spoken intro, she promised to combine the traditional "Tiger Rag" with some Israeli falafel, and there were indeed some klezmer flavorings in the prelude before Cohen and the band launched into the tune with its lusty trombone glisses. Dylan Hyman on baritone and Lee, back on alto, had some nice moments here. Cohen saved her most stunning trad explorations for last. Though she shot encouraging looks to the band and even praised bassist Tom Champion for mastering the difficulties of the bass-line and keeping it in three, Cohen herself owned Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz" and took it to exultant new places.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Interviews
Multiple Reviews
Bailey's Bundles
Live Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Extended Analysis
Album Reviews
Extended Analysis
Read more articles
Happy Song

Happy Song

Anzic Records
2017

buy
Luminosa

Luminosa

Anzic Records
2015

buy
Claroscuro

Claroscuro

Anzic Records
2012

buy
 

Family

Anzic Records
2012

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Jul19Fri
Anat Cohen And Marcello Goncalves Duo
Sam First
Los Angeles, CA
$20
Jul27Sat
Anat Cohen And Trio Da Paz
Dinkelspiel Auditorium
Stanford, CA
$15-62
Jul29Mon
Anat Cohen, Dafnis Prieto, Sheryl Bailey
Dinkelspiel Auditorium
Stanford, CA
$15-62
Aug2Fri
Sjw All-star Jam
Dinkelspiel Auditorium
Stanford, CA
$15-62
Sep14Sat
TRIO BRASILEIRO, Anat Cohen
Moods
Zurich, Switzerland

Related Articles

Read Marcin Wasilewski Trio at Triskel Christchurch Live Reviews
Marcin Wasilewski Trio at Triskel Christchurch
By Ian Patterson
June 24, 2019
Read The Nice Jazz Orchestra At The Opera House Live Reviews
The Nice Jazz Orchestra At The Opera House
By Martin McFie
June 23, 2019
Read Jochen Rückert Quartet at Hong Kong Arts Centre Live Reviews
Jochen Rückert Quartet at Hong Kong Arts Centre
By Rob Garratt
June 21, 2019
Read John Richmond at The Turning Point Cafe Live Reviews
John Richmond at The Turning Point Cafe
By David A. Orthmann
June 19, 2019
Read Ojai Music Festival 2019 Live Reviews
Ojai Music Festival 2019
By Josef Woodard
June 19, 2019
Read Frédéric Gomes at les Deux Moulins Live Reviews
Frédéric Gomes at les Deux Moulins
By Martin McFie
June 17, 2019
Read Jazzdor Berlin 2019 Live Reviews
Jazzdor Berlin 2019
By Henning Bolte
June 15, 2019