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Take Five With...

Take Five With Violinist Jeremy Cohen


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Meet Jeremy Cohen

Jeremy Cohen comes from a family of five musicians. Classically-trained and a student of Itzhak Perlman and Anne Crowden, Cohen's eclectic style reflects his respect for a wide range of violinists from Perlman and Fritz Kreisler to Joe Venuti and Eddie South.

He has performed as soloist with numerous orchestras including the Virginia Symphony, the California Symphony and the Reno Philharmonic. His recording credits include motion picture and television soundtracks including The Dukes of Hazzard and Jane Fonda's Dollmaker, and as concertmaster on recordings with Linda Ronstadt, Ray Charles, Aaron Neville, Howard Keel and Cleo Laine.

He appeared on Carlos Santana's Grammy-winning CD Supernatural and the original Star Wars compilation CD with John Williams.

On the stage he was the solo violinist in Forever Tango and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. He has toured and recorded with the Grammy Award-winning Turtle Island Quartet. Cohen's orchestral arrangements have been featured by numerous orchestras, including the San Francisco Symphony, and the San Jose and San Francisco Chamber Orchestras. As an educator, he has served on the faculties of the Henry Mancini Institute (Los Angeles), The Jazz School (Berkeley, CA) and the Pete J Johnson.

In 2004 Cohen released Jeremy Cohen and Friends Celebrate Joe Venuti—100 Years (VAI), a DVD tribute to Joe Venuti. Cohen and Violinjazz pay homage to violinist Eddie South in the 2010 release, (Sono Luminous). Most of QSF's multi-genre material has been composed or arranged by Cohen who aspires to widen the repertoire available to modern string players.

Arriving July 21, 2023, Quartet San Francisco will release Raymond Scott Reimagined, an unprecedented new collaboration with accomplished Grammy/Emmy Award-winning composer/producer/arranger Gordon Goodwin, revered Grammy-Winning a cappella group Take 6 and the Raymond Scott Archives.



Teachers and/or influences?

Anne Crowden, Itzhak Perlman, Eddie South, Papa John Creach, Jean-Luc Ponty, Jerry Goodman, Sid Page. Prez (Lester Young).

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

Being a musician was a normal thing in my family. Both parents were singers. Father was a Cantor and mother was a voice teacher at local State college

Your sound and approach to music.

I have multiple approaches to sound preferences. Different genres feel physically different to play. Appropriateness to each genre in which I am performing is critical for authenticity. A pure connection between my inner voice using my instrument as a vehicle

Your teaching approach

Path from here to where we'd like to get. Non judgmental, analytical and honest without some of the shame that can come along with some traditional methods of teaching.

Your dream band

Oh my... Paul Desmond, Astor Piazzolla, Bill Evans, Ray Brown, David Garibaldi, Joey DeFrancesco, Clark Terry... hmm, strange band indeed... Monk.

Road story: Your best or worst experience

Four days in Istanbul, amazing! Group outnumbered audience at concert. Presenter fail... but an amazing trip... followed by ten days in Japan... Incredible! Woke up in AM, looked out the hotel window to witness a live volcano (Sakurajima).

Favorite venue

So many spectacular halls in China... Maybe Beijing Egg Symphony Hall?

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

An incorporation of traditional and historical performance practice combined with contemporary sensibilities and repertoire (and grooves). Wrapping 300 years of performance practice in one guy with a violin and a bow in hand

The first jazz album I bought was:

Dave Brubeck Quartet's Time Out and Time Further Out.

Music you are listening to now:

. Listening to a lot of Raymond Scott while working on this crazy album, Raymond Scott Reimagined.

Desert Island picks:

Tower of Power Back to Oakland
Santana Abraxas
Schubert Two Cello Quintets in C Major
Jeff Beck Wired
Most Temptations and Earth, Wind & Fire

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

Thriving while struggling towards commerce at the expense of artistry.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

Keeping its distance from politics, message orientation just clouds the purity of instrumental music. The true passion of the performers (remaining in their artistic sandbox) and not aiming for monetization will help keep it more pure. As our society moves more and more towards commercialism, fewer people awe willing to risk all for their artistic vision.

What is in the near future?

Musically? For me? I think an exploration of the Iconic music played on my violin before it arrived in my my hands. Previously it was owned by Lou Raderman, the concertmaster of the MGM contract orchestra (1939-1969) and had performed with practically every star in Los Angeles that made a recording through the 1940s-through the 1980s. allmusic.com has many of them.

What is your greatest fear when you perform?

That noise (fear or lack of preparation) in my head, fingers or in the group will prevent me/ us from focusing the best I/we can, connecting with our voices through our instruments. Lifting all voices and flying together is the goal.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Astor Piazzolla's "Melodía in La menor"

What is your favorite song to whistle or sing in the shower?

That is such a moving target. My musical tastes shift from moment to moment.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

Chef, my cell phone is full of food pics from all over the world.

If I could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be and why?

Abraham Lincoln, I'd like to know how he navigated with his adversaries in real time.

To pair with our series Jazz Uncorked/Jazz & Juice, what's your favorite wine, bourbon or adult beverage?

Bandol, I'm a vodka martini guy mostly... I think there's a bottle of Bulleit in the house, Limoncello... good single malt scotch... one of the Glens or Talisker.

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Jazz article: Take Five With Violinist  Jeremy Cohen
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