ANAT COHEN, CLAROSCURO


The clarinetist and multi-reedist Anat Cohen has a sound that speaks in an array of brilliant colors. As a performer and leader, (she recently kicked off the release of “Claroscuro” on Anzic Records with a six night gig at the Village Vanguard, a comfortable space that she called “one big living room”) Cohen knows how to pull a listener in, feeding on the attention of her audience as much as her quartet to rapturously blow through standards old and new and absorbing originals, too. She’s a charmer who connects emotionally and you walk away both thrilled and thoroughly entertained – all of which is nicely conveyed on the disc. 

In Spanish the art term “Claroscuro” means the play between light and dark and these are the sonic textures she weaves throughout the album, with an assist from a band of empathetic musicians -- the grooving pianist Jason Lindner, ace bassist Joe Martin and a drummer with magical beats, Daniel Freedman. This fine group (all movers and shakers on the NY music scene) sets its rhythmic compass to Lindner’s vamp on the lead tune, “Anat’s Dance,” an melodious original with a grounded vibe that tips its hat to Cohen’s spirited flow and it defines the group’s overall dynamic.

Cohen and her crew play tunes that fan out across cultures, spotlighted by the Creole beat-step-beat on “La Vie En Rose,” an Armstrong infused gem that’s delightfully underscored with the vocal growl of trombonist Wycliffe Gordon who sits in here and again on the NOLA-kissed “And The World Weeps.” There’s Artie Shaw’s “Nightmare,” an imposing title for a rather affable tune (with guest clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera) and “Tudo Que Voce Podia Ser,” a Brazilian blast that flaunts a deep groove and joyous chorus. It’s a composition made famous in the 70’s by Milton Nascimento, but the band grabs it for themselves with inimitable chops and fervor. Cohen has said “when you share music with people, it should always be a celebration. Making music with people for people, that is a gift. And there should always be joy in a gift.” Fittingly, the album closes with “The Wedding,” a tune by South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim that Cohen performs on tenor saxophone. With its backbeat and gospel flavor, the band adopts a soulful tone that’s reverential and wondrous, making room for Cohen to bring it home with love and happiness.  (11 tracks; 67:34 minutes) www.anatcohen.com

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JAZZ IN SPACE: ANAT COHEN, CLAROSCURO

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

ANAT COHEN, CLAROSCURO


The clarinetist and multi-reedist Anat Cohen has a sound that speaks in an array of brilliant colors. As a performer and leader, (she recently kicked off the release of “Claroscuro” on Anzic Records with a six night gig at the Village Vanguard, a comfortable space that she called “one big living room”) Cohen knows how to pull a listener in, feeding on the attention of her audience as much as her quartet to rapturously blow through standards old and new and absorbing originals, too. She’s a charmer who connects emotionally and you walk away both thrilled and thoroughly entertained – all of which is nicely conveyed on the disc. 

In Spanish the art term “Claroscuro” means the play between light and dark and these are the sonic textures she weaves throughout the album, with an assist from a band of empathetic musicians -- the grooving pianist Jason Lindner, ace bassist Joe Martin and a drummer with magical beats, Daniel Freedman. This fine group (all movers and shakers on the NY music scene) sets its rhythmic compass to Lindner’s vamp on the lead tune, “Anat’s Dance,” an melodious original with a grounded vibe that tips its hat to Cohen’s spirited flow and it defines the group’s overall dynamic.

Cohen and her crew play tunes that fan out across cultures, spotlighted by the Creole beat-step-beat on “La Vie En Rose,” an Armstrong infused gem that’s delightfully underscored with the vocal growl of trombonist Wycliffe Gordon who sits in here and again on the NOLA-kissed “And The World Weeps.” There’s Artie Shaw’s “Nightmare,” an imposing title for a rather affable tune (with guest clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera) and “Tudo Que Voce Podia Ser,” a Brazilian blast that flaunts a deep groove and joyous chorus. It’s a composition made famous in the 70’s by Milton Nascimento, but the band grabs it for themselves with inimitable chops and fervor. Cohen has said “when you share music with people, it should always be a celebration. Making music with people for people, that is a gift. And there should always be joy in a gift.” Fittingly, the album closes with “The Wedding,” a tune by South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim that Cohen performs on tenor saxophone. With its backbeat and gospel flavor, the band adopts a soulful tone that’s reverential and wondrous, making room for Cohen to bring it home with love and happiness.  (11 tracks; 67:34 minutes) www.anatcohen.com

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