Three Cohens. Three Cheers.

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Monday October 31, 2011

From Jazz Police

Three Cohens. Three Cheers. (Family, 2011, Anzic Records)
By: Andrea Canter

Just listening to the music on Family, you can easily imagine an American household in the 1980-90s where parents’ love of music filters into the ears and hearts of their offspring. Soon the kids are taking lessons, playing in school bands, well on their respective ways to becoming some of the finest purveyors of America’s indigenous art form. For the ’3 Cohens,’ this story is only partly true. Anat, Avishai and Yuval Cohen were indeed encouraged by their parents to pursue music; they discovered jazz and played in their school and conservatory ensembles. And they are already identified as among their generation’s best practitioners of the genre.

But this is not an All American family tale. The 3 Cohens grew up in Tel Aviv, part of a growing wave of Israeli jazz artists who have come to the U.S. for advanced studies and are now shaping the future of American music. Each is a star in his or her own right, Yuval on soprano and alto saxophone, Anat on clarinet and soprano and tenor saxes, Avishai on trumpet. But they can trace their collaborations back to bop experiments in the family living room, a history and bond few working bands can claim. Celebrating the release of Family, The 3 Cohens will perform at the Village Vanguard in Manhattan, November 1-6, with pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Omer Avital and drummer Johnathan Blake.

Recorded in Brooklyn, the Three Cohens’ latest release follows One (2004) and Braid (2007), and features a stellar New York rhythm section of pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Gregory Hutchinson. Legendary vocalist Jon Hendricks appears on two tracks. ‘The idea of recording with the great Jon Hendricks came to us after we met him in Brazil in 2010, where Jon sat in with our band. The connection felt magical and we all agreed we must record together.’ The set includes original compositions from Yuval and Avishai, Anat’s arrangement of ‘Tiger Rag,’ and exciting covers, with Hendricks joining the sextet on ‘On the Sunny Side of the Street’ and the closing ‘Roll ‘Em Pete.’

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