Thursday, March 31, 2011

Anat Cohen's Marvelous Village Notes

Anat Cohen certainly has established herself among the rising new performers in jazz today. The following review originally appeared in the November 2008 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 310), although I have made minor edits. I believe I received a review copy from Jazz & Blues Report.
One of the many prominent Israeli born jazz artists to come to our attention, Anat Cohen has been receiving critical kudos from the jazz press as well as making her mark. The first female horn player to headline the Village Vanguard, she has opened eyes and ears with her marvelous reed playing.

This writer was captivated by her performance as part of the United Jazz Orchestra led by Paquito D’Rivera at the 2007 Duke Elllington Jazz Festival. Her latest album is the marvelous
Notes From the Village (Anzic), and has her backed by Jason Lindner on piano; Omer Avital on bass; and drummer Daniel Freedman, with guitarist Hekselman appearing on three of the eight performances.

This is lively and uplifting music from the start with the opening
Washington Square Park, incorporating latin elements along with modern and traditional jazz. the music sings and its hard to resist the urge to dance with this including Hekselman’s twisting, lively solo and Cohen’s serpentine soprano sax playing here. Its followed by Cohen’s lovely ballad Until You’re in Love Again, with its echoes of Gordon Jenkins’ Goodbye, with her lovely woody clarinet tone evoking Goodman’s legacy before taking the song into a new direction. It is as indicative as any track here showing the freshness of her music and playing.

Cuban composer Ernesto Lecouna’s
Siboney, features an arrangement by Lindner which fuses elements of tango with the Afro-Cuban foundation as Cohen’s horn sings again. She plays bass clarinet on the lovely, wistful rendition of Coltrane’s After the Rain, with Lindner taking a nice solo. J Blues is a lively original with her playing mesmerizing, while her interpretation of Sam Cooke’s A Change is Gonna Come, opens with a work song like tempo as emphatically laid out by drummer Freedman, while her playing is both soulful and thoughtful.

A playful rendition of Fats Waller’s
Jitterbug Waltz takes this out on another high note with a very fresh, effervescent arrangement by Cohen and her sax weaving its magic throughout, concluding a CD of music rooted in the past and present yet looking forward to the future. It certainly will add to the many kudos she already has received.

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