Anat Cohen: Chant Of The Reeds

Jim Santella By

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Clarinetist/saxophonist Anat Cohen brings many talents to the forum: a gifted interpreter of songs and melodies from a variety of cultures and traditions, she speaks a rich language possessing many dialects. Originally from Israel, she and her two siblings, Yuval and Avishai, have embraced New York's jazz scene with enthusiasm and are busy charting individual career paths. Older brother Yuval, a saxophonist, and younger brother Avishai, a trumpeter, join her on Noir, along with a large ensemble packing a powerful punch. On Poetica, Cohen works without her brothers in a smaller line-up.

Anat Cohen
Anzic Records

On clarinet for this eclectic album of songs from all around the world, Cohen delivers an expressive, flowing set. Along with referencing the clarinet's jazz roots, she acknowledges the extent to which the instrument has been a centerpiece of other musics over the centuries. Its woody timbre, and the fluid articulation that purrs from its bell, merge seamlessly with those of her piano trio. Cohen glides evenly across the registers without so much as a ripple of division between them. Her poetic song interpretations fall as naturally as conversation between friends.

The music is romantic, and Cohen's approach has a quality that allows it to speak freely in every language. As she moves eloquently into John Coltrane's classic "Lonnie's Lament, with a string quartet on board, you feel the special passion that comes around when good music is in the house. Cohen slips and slides her way into an expressive ballad interpretation that says it all. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then music must be worth millions. Cohen's clarinet interpretations are exciting, adventurous and culturally diverse. Not just for enthusiasts of the instrument, Poetica speaks freely to all those who enjoy song and the power that it can communicate.

Anat Cohen
Anzic Records

Cohen plays clarinet and a range of saxophones on this album. Using a big band format, she's paired traditional Latin fare with jazz standards. As featured soloist, she converses with the other musicians in a garden of fresh and culturally varied delights. With Johnny Griffin's "Do It, she romps and stomps an energetic bebop caper on tenor that interacts with the entire saxophone section in a smart array. With "Cry Me A River she wails sensually on clarinet against a big band arrangement that dredges up old memories. "You Never Told Me That You Care comes from Sun Ra. With this one, Cohen dances on tenor to the sultry mood evoked by the album's title.

Moving to alto for a medley of "Samba De Orfeu and "Struttin' With Some Barbecue, Cohen interacts with her brothers in a big band romp that spells fun from the get-go. Louis Armstrong would have approved. "Bebê features her alto in dramatic fashion, while "Ingênuo lets her take the clarinet for a stroll through the park. Along the way, she meets up with lovely themes from around the world that express joy in song.

Tracks and Personnel


Tracks: Agada Yapanit (A Japanese Tale); Hofim (Beaches); The Purple Piece; Eyn Gedi; La Chanson des Vieux Amants; Lonnie's Lament; Quando eu me Chamar Saudade; La Casa del Llano; Nigunim; Cypresses.

Personnel: Anat Cohen: clarinet; Jason Lindner: piano; Omer Avital: double bass; Daniel Freedman: drums, percussion (6); Gilad: percussion (10); String Quartet (4, 6, 9, 10): Antoine Silverman, Belinda Whitney: violin; David Creswell: viola; Danny Miller: cello.


Tracks: La Comparsa; No Moon At All; Carnaval Da São Vicente; Do It; Cry Me a River; You Never Told Me That You Care; Medley: Samba De Orfeu/Struttin' With Some Barbeque; Cry; Bebê; Ingênuo.

Personnel: Anat Cohen: tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet; Oded Lev-Ari: arranger, conductor; Ted Nash: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute; Billy Drewes: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Scott Robinson: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Frank Greene, Tanya Darby, Avishai Cohen: trumpet, flugelhorn; Deborah Weisz, Yonatan Voltzok: trombone; Guilherme Monteiro: guitars; Barak Mori: bass; Ali Jackson, Jr.: drums (2, 4, 5, 6, 8); Antonio Sanchez: drums (1, 3, 7, 10); Duduka Da Fonseca: drums (9), percussion (3, 7); Zé Maur'-cio: percussion; Erik Friedlander, Robert Burkhart, Greg Hefferman: cello; Yuval Cohen: soprano saxophone (7).


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