Monday, October 12, 2015

Anat Cohen and the Music of Brazil in Luminosa

While the music of Brazil has always been an inspiration for Anat Cohen, on her new Anzic Records release, "Luminosa" the focus is such music. Employing clarinet, bass clarinet and tenor saxophone, she is joined by her band of Jason Lindner (one of her co-producers) on keyboards; Joe Martin on bass and Daniel Friedman on drums. Special quests include percussionist Gilmar Gomes, guitarists Romero Lumbarbo and Gilad Hekselman and on two selections, and two selections feature Choro Advenuroso, composed of Vitor Gonçalves on accordion, Cesar Garabini on 7-string guitar and Sergio Krakowski on Pandeino. The selections include compositions by Milton Nascimento, Romero Lumbarbo, K-Ximbinho, Severino Araujo, Edu Lobo & Chico Buarque and Cohen who contributed four originals.

Cohen is one of the foremost clarinetists in contemporary jazz and her singing, lyrical playing contrasts with the dark chords of Lindner on the opening "Lilia" followed by a more playful attack on "Putty Boy Strut," with an intriguing rhythmic underpinning. "Ima" is a lovely ballad with some delicate playing from Cohen and Lindner. Romero Lubambo's acoustic guitar serves to help pace the lively "Bachiao" More of Cohen's playful side can be heard with her lilting playing on "Happy Song," while a more reflective tone characterizes "Ternura," one of the two choro selections with the accordion of Gonçalves providing a contrast as does Garabina's 7-string guitar. The other choro performance "Espinha De Bacalhau," is a terrific, spirited performance evocative of some classic choro recordings along with some recordings of New Orleans based pianist Tom McDermott, who has also delved into choro (a Brazilian music with parallels to ragtime and early New Orleans jazz).

Cohen takes up tenor saxophone for her composition, "The Wein Machine," dedicated to the legendary jazz impresario. Her robust playing here completes another recording marked by the mix of latin accents, lyricism and charm, and marvelous ensemble playing that is sure to enchant many.

I received my review copy from a publicist. I have made a few minor edits in the review that was originally published in the May-June 2015 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 360). Here is a video taken from The Pace Report for "Luminosa."

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