She is formidable. Long may she continue to enrich the music in myriad ways.” – Jazz Critic Ira Gitler
And, saxophonist/clarinetist Anat Cohen has set out to do just that, with marked success. Now an established bandleader and prolific composer, she is an exponent of both modern and traditional jazz, classical music, Brazilian choro, Argentine tango, and an expansive timeline of Afro-Cuban styles. Born in Tel Aviv, Anat grew up with musical siblings. Her older brother Yuval is a saxophonist of note and her younger brother Avishai is one of New York’s busiest trumpeters. She began clarinet studies at age 12. At 16, she joined her school’s big band and learned to play tenor saxophone as well. After graduation, she played in the Israeli Air Force band until she left Israel for Berklee College of Music in the US in 1996. In Boston, she played tenor saxophone with various bands and began an association with Sherrie Maricle’s Diva Jazz Orchestra. After graduation and a move to New York in 1999, she quickly found work in various Brazilian ensembles like the Choro Ensemble and Duduka Da Fonseca’s Samba Jazz Quintet and started performing with David Ostwald’s “Gully Low Jazz Band,” which explores the music of Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet and their Pan-American contemporaries.
Anat has also performed for audiences at the Village Vanguard, Jazz Standard, Iridium, The Jazz Gallery, and the JVC Jazz Festival. She has also appeared at the Chicago Jazz Festival, Washington DC’s Kennedy Center, San Francisco’s Yoshi’s, Boston’s Regattabar, and the North Sea, Monterey, and Montreal Jazz Festivals, among others. A favorite with critic and fans, she twice topped the Rising Star- Clarinet category in DownBeat Magazine’s Critics Poll and was singled out in their Reader’s Poll. She was also named Clarinetist of the Year (2007/8) by the Jazz Journalists Association. Anat has now released six albums as a leader. Her latest is Claroscuro with pianist Jason Lindner, double-bassist Joe Martin and drummer Daniel Freedman – as well as special guests: trombonist/vocalist Wycliffe Gordon, percussionist Gilmar Gomes and star clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera. Additionally, her albums Noir and Poetica appeared on many year-end best-of summary lists.
This is Ms. Cohen’s second appearance at LJF.