Anat Cohen: Notes from the Village and Suelos

Tom Greenland BY

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Anat Cohen
Notes from the Village

Cuarteto de Clarinetes de Caracas
Cacao Música

Anat Cohen, an Israeli-born multi-reedist who favors clarinet, is rapidly emerging from the jazz 'underground.' Notes from the Village (an allusion to Dostoevsky's novella?), her fourth release as a leader, is sure to enhance her growing reputation. Ably abetted by Jason Lindner (keyboards), Omer Avital (bass) and Daniel Freedman (drums), with strong support by Gilad Hekselman (guitar), Cohen covers a lot of musical ground on Notes, from graceful tone poetry to raw-boned 'world-bop.' Playing the soprano and bass clarinets and the soprano and tenor saxophones with equal facility, her sound is light and unforced, ranging from subtle pastels to bold primary colors. Tracks like "Washington Square Park" and "Until You're in Love Again" (both originals) and Ernesto Lecuona's "Siboney" display the former quality, while workouts such as "J Blues," "Lullaby for the Naïve Ones" (also originals) and Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz" flaunt Cohen's considerable technique and quicksilver imagination. The band members, frequent collaborators on various outings, exude well-oiled synergism. Lindner is particularly strong—as a creative and empathetic accompanist whose paripatetic style links intimately with Cohen's, and as an arranger, writing rhythmically vibrant charts for three tracks.

Cohen also makes a brief guest appearance on the Cuarteto de Clarinetes de Caracas' Suelos, filling in as fifth clarinetist on Lecuona's "Danza Negra" and contributing a powerful cadenza mid-chart. An impressive date by Venezuela's premiere clarinet chamber quartet, Suelos continues the group's 20-year mission to feature and foment the work of South American composers, arrangers and song forms. Comprised of Gregory Parra, Orlando Pimentel, Victor Salamanques and Gorgias Sanchez (on piccolo, soprano, alto, and bass clarinets, respectively), the quartet boasts strong chops and sensitive interpretative skills. Featuring compositions by Aldemaro Romero, Silvestre Revueltas, Hermeto Pascoal, and Paquito D'Rivera, among others, and representing the genres of Venezuelan joropo and guasa, Colombian bambuco, Cuban danzon, Mexican mariachi, along with Latin jazz and avant-leaning classical music, Suelos is local in flavor, pan-national in scope. Chamber music fans will enjoy the freshness and variety of ideas, while jazz fans will appreciate the unusual harmony and textures of "Barro," the dense dissonance of "Noche de Jaranas," and the restless counterpoint of D'Rivera's "Wapango."

Tracks & Personnel

Notes from the Village

Tracks: Washington Square Park; Until You're in Love Again; Siboney; After the Rain; J Blues; Lullaby for the Naïve Ones; A Change Is Gonna Come; Jitterbug Waltz.

Personnel: Anat Cohen: clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor sax, soprano sax; Jason Lindner: piano, Fender Rhodes, Prophet 08 Keyboard; Omer Avital: bass; Daniel Freedman: drums, percussion; Gilad Hekselman: guitar.


Tracks: Preludio y Quirpa; Fantasía en 6/8; Danza Negra; Monk-tuno (de la New York Suite); Barro; Afro (de Aires Tropicales); La Guasa del Borrachito (del Quinteto del Pájaro); La Flor de la Canela; Noche de Jaranas (de La Noche de los Mayas); Danzón No. 5. Portales de Madrugada; Wapango; Bebé; Las Alazanas.

Personnel: Gregory Parra: piccolo and soprano clarinets; Orlando Pimentel: soprano clarinete; Victor Salamanqués: soprano and alto clarinets; Gorgias Sánchez: bass clarinet; Carlos Quintero: Peruvian cajón; Horacio Hernández: drums; Omar Jeanton: drums; Anat Cohen: clarinet; Jorge Glem: Venezuelan Cuatro.

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