Jul 17, 2012
When Downbeat magazine’s Critics Poll appeared earlier this month, to no one’s surprise, Anat Cohen captured the award as Best Clarinet player, and earned the Rising Star award on Tenor Saxophone. She was a dual winner at the Jazz Journalists’ Awards for Clarinetist of the Year and Multi-reeds Player of the Year. She is an inspiring performer and composer, and is at the top of her game on any number of instruments.
She is also an entrepreneur, as she and her partner Oded Lev-Ari have created Anzic Records, an independent label that features recordings by and Anat and her siblings Avisahi and Yuval, as well as their various groups and projects, Going beyond the immediate family, Anzic also has released works by Israeli musicians Eli Degibri and Omar Avital; singers Amy Cervini and Melissa Stylianou; saxophonist Joel Frahm, and the Wavery Seven.
Anat will get a chance to show the many different sides of her musical gift at the Jazz Standard in New York later this month. As part of that club’s 10th Anniversary series, she will present the “Anat Cohen Invitation Series” from Thursday - Sunday July 26 – 29. Each night will be a different ensemble, and performers will include Romero Lubambo, Howard Alden, the Anzic Orchestra, and Fred Hersch.
I spoke with Anat about these upcoming gigs, as well as about her future plans, including performances at the Newport Jazz Festival in August and a new CD in September. Click here to listen to the conversation, which features musical interludes:
Anat Cohen – “Jitterbug Waltz” from Notes from the Village. Anat swings the Fats Waller classic on her clarinet with help from band mates Jason Lindner (piano), Daniel Freedman (drums and percussion), and Gilad (guitar).
Anat Cohen & the Anzic Orchestra – “Medley: Samba de Orfeu/Struttin' with Some Barbeque” from Noir. A killer medley that mixes Brazilia with New Orleans, played by a large ensemble featuring three cellos. Musicians include Anat Cohen (clarinet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); Guilherme Monteiro (guitar); Greg Heffernan, Robert Burkhart, Erik Friedlander (cello); Billy Drewes (clarinet, tenor saxophone); Yuval Cohen (soprano saxophone); Avishai Cohen , Frank Greene, Tanya Darby (trumpet, flugelhorn); Deborah Weisz (trombone); Duduka Da Fonseca (drums, percussion); Antonio Sanchez (drums); and Zé Maurício (percussion).
3 Cohens – Title Track from Family. Anat and brothers Avishai and Yuval released this CD last year, which featured Avishai’s ballad as the title track. The sextet is rounded out by pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Gregory Hutchinson.
Amy Cervini – “My Attorney Bernie” from Digging Me, Digging You. Produced and arranged by Oded Lev-Ari, Ms. Cervini’s husband, this salute to the music of Blossom Dearie was one of two vocal releases on Anzic Records in early 2012. This is one of my favorite tunes on the album, an interpretation of Dave Frishberg's witty ditty, The vocalist is backed by Bruce Barth (piano) and Matt Wilson (drums), while Anat and Avishai Cohen appear from track to track.
Anat Cohen – “Eyn Gedi” from Poetica. Anat’s remembrance of the Israeli oasis town was a highlight of this 2007 release. Band members include Anat Cohen (clarinet and violin); David Creswell (violin, viola); Belinda Whitney (violin); Danny Miller (cello); Omer Avital (bass); Antoine Silverman (violin); Jason Lindner (piano); Daniel Freedman (drums, percussion); and Gilad (percussion).