Anat Cohen jazzes up Xavier stage

By: Soondos Mulla-Ossman ~Staff Writer~

Photos courtesy of | Clarinetist Anat Cohen played with her jazz quartet at the Gallagher Theatre on Jan. 15 for Xavier’s Music Series.

At Sunday afternoon’s introduction of Anat Cohen, the jazz musician was described as the most faceted and multi-talented in the world. As just one example, she performed a Brazilian piece once and played it so authentically that a Brazilian listener was convinced she was born in the same country.

Xavier University’s Music Series started this semester off with the Israeli born-and-raised jazz musician determined to bring the clarinet and saxophone into the modern world with her own flair.

Prior to her performance on campus, Cohen had been invited to renowned jazz festivals around the world, including Newport, Chicago, Monterey, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage, SF Jazz (San Francisco), Playboy (Los Angeles), Duke Ellington (Washington, D.C.), Montreal, Copenhagen, Jazz a Vienne, Umbria, North Sea (Netherlands), Tudo e Jazz (Brazil), Caesaria (Israel) and Zagreb Jazzerella. Additionally, her performances have been broadcasted nationally, from NPR in the U.S. to Radio Bermen in Germany.

So what makes her so good? DownBeat reviewed her and her quartet’s North See Jazz Festival performance and said, “Cohen not only proved to be a woodwind revelation of dark tones and delicious lyricism, but also a dynamic bandleader who danced and shouted encouragement to her group – whooping it up when pianist Jason Lindner followed her clarinet trills on a Latinflavored number…With her dark, curly, shoulder-length hair swaying to the beat as she danced, she was a picture of joy.”

During Sunday’s performance with a quartet consisting of Daniel Freedman on drums, Tal Mashiach on bass, Gary Versace on piano, and of course Anat Cohen leading with her clarinet and saxophone.

“Putty Boy Strut,” originally by Flying Locust, was a crowd favorite.

From the crisp notes of the clarinet to the rhythmic beats to the synchronized bass to the dancing piano keys, the only thing left to turn the theater into a swinging dance floor was to remove the seats.

Up on stage, Cohen was already dancing for everyone. She clapped to the other three quartet members when the clarinet fell silent, laughing and spurring life into the audience.

She received a standing ovation and warmly bowed with her quartet as a group.

Cohen encouraged the audience to enjoy themselves before beginning, and, judging by the departing smiles spread across faces old and young, student and retiree, they certainly did.

Two of her latest albums, Luminosa and Claroscuro, were available for purchase.

If you attended the performance and crave more jazz, or if you missed the opportunity and wish to discover the allure, Bill Charlap the premier jazz pianist will be performing in March, followed by the Christian McBride Trio, the five-time Grammy-winning jazz bassist, in April.