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3 Cohens: Braid

Ernest Barteldes By

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On this disc, recorded in a Brooklyn studio in the summer of 2006, the three Cohen siblings blend their many individual influences into one happy family outing. While reed player Anat's work clearly has more of a Latin vibe (thanks to work with groups like Choro Ensemble and her Brazilian jazz quartet), her brothers—trumpeter Avishai and saxophonist Yuval—seem to draw inspiration mostly from European and Middle-Eastern jazz. Working together, the trio has a noticeable chemistry that is undeniable—according to the liners, early in their musical studies they "practiced at home, together or separately (but still within hearing distance of each other), for years. In the process they got to know each other's musical instincts extremely well.

The varying styles are evident in their respective approach to composing. On Anat's "Tfila (Prayer), the arrangement leans into a Brazilian direction, while Avishai's "Shoutin' Low has more of a straight-ahead approach, showcasing his excellent trumpet chops. The same can be said of Yuval's "Freedom which, as the title suggests, gives a lot of space for individual expression; special mention must be made of an accomplished Eric Harland drum solo. Harland's talents are also very present on the Cuban-tinged "Navad (The Wanderer, also written by Yuval), a tune used to open their CD release celebration at New York's Jazz Standard in the Fall of 2007, as part of a week of events under Anat's leadership.

"It is not very often that we have the chance to share the stage together, Anat said as she introduced her two brothers halfway through the set. All three musicians have demanding schedules in their own right and the fact that Yuval resides in Israel (Avishai and Anat both live in New York) makes for logistical obstacles to this kind of meeting.

One of the highlights of that set was the beautiful "Beaches, Anat's clarinet redolent of bossa nova subtlety. The muse that night shone mostly on Avishai, who showed incredible fluency on his instrument. Another great live moment was their take on Ernesto Lecuona's "La Habanera (the only tune played not from the album) where they took full advantage of the song's open spaces to improvise freely. Subbing drummer Johnathan Blake skillfully held the beat together and performed an accomplished solo that was ably supported by bassist Barak Mori and pianist Aaron Parks.

Track Listing: Navad (The Wanderer); Gigi et Amelie; Freedom; Beaches; U-Valley; Lies and Gossip; It Could Happen to You; Elegy for Eliku; Tfila (Prayer); Shoutin' Low.

Personnel: Anat Cohen: tenor sax, clarinet (4); Avishai Cohen: trumpet; Yuval Cohen: soprano sax; Aaron Goldberg: piano; Omer Avital: bass; Eric Harland: drums.

Title: Braid | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Anzic Records

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