Pianist Emmet Cohen is one of the most exciting young pianists working today. He totally engages and never fails to move you. Emmet is one of those rare genuine prodigies —he began lessons at age three, and his playing quickly became a mature melding of musicality, technique, and concept. With fluid technique, an innovative tonal palette, and a vast repertoire, Cohen plays like a seasoned veteran at 28. Litchfield Jazz Festival is thrilled to have him back again for a third appearance, this time with his Trio with the great Jimmy Cobb on drums and ….on bass. We are especially proud that Emmet was a Litchfield Jazz Camper during his teen years who tells us it was at Camp he decided definitively to make his life in music. And “make it” he did.
Emmet Cohen has dedicated the last several years to learning from legendary jazz musicians and collaborating with them both live and on recordings, producing his outstanding Masters Legacy Series, now two sets strong. Emmet is producer as well as pianist for each album in this intergenerational, ongoing project. Volume One of the Masters Legacy Series features Jimmy Cobb and Volume Two, bassist Ron Carter.
With a heartfelt dedication to passing on what he has learned, Emmet visits some 50 schools each year through Jazz at Lincoln Center’s “Jazz for Young People” program and regularly presents jazz history and performance lectures. An alumnus of the YoungArts Foundation, he now produces and directs multidisciplinary YoungArts programs. Through designing student curricula and selecting master teaching/mentoring artists, he connects with both performers and audiences. He is also involved with the interdisciplinary programs of choreographers Debbie Allen and Bill T. Jones.
Emmet’s talent has been acknowledged with many awards. He placed first in both the American Jazz Pianists competition (2014) and the Phillips Piano Competition at the University of West Florida (2011). He was a finalist in the American Pianists Association’s Cole Porter Fellowship (2015, 2011) and the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition (2011). He has appeared at world-renowned events and venues, including, the Monterey, Newport, North Sea, Bern, Edinburgh and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festivals, Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall, and the Kennedy Center. He’s performed at NYC’s Blue Note, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, and Birdland, London’s Ronnie Scott’s, Jazzhaus Montmartre in Copenhagen, and been received in the Oval Office by President Obama. He is currently organist-in-residence at Harlem’s SMOKE jazz club.
Cohen is leader of the Emmet Cohen Trio and a member of Christian McBride’s trio, Tip City, the Herlin Riley Quartet, and the Ali Jackson Trio. He serves as pianist and music director for jazz vocalist and television personality Lea DeLaria. Cohen has appeared regularly with Kurt Elling, Billy Hart, Jimmy Heath, and Brian Lynch, among other. His recordings include, in addition to the Master’s Legacy Series, New Directions (2016) with Herlin Riley, Questioned Answer (2014) co-produced with Brian Lynch, Infinity (2013) featuring his Italian Trio, and his acclaimed debut CD In the Element (2011) with bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Rodney Green.
Cohen holds a Master’s Degree from the Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelor’s from the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, where he studied with pianist Shelly Berg.
Emmet Cohen is a Yamaha artist.