Cool first night at Jazz Port Townsend

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Monday July 29, 2013


Cool first night at Jazz Port Townsend
By: Paul de Barros

The opening concert featuring multi-reed player Anat Cohen on B flat clarinet, with Hamilton and Seattle’s Dawn Clement (piano) and Chuck Deardorf’ (bass). Cohen’s version of Fats Waller’s ‘Jitterbug Waltz’ showed she has moved beyond mere mastery – she was all over that licorice stick! – to a level of relaxation that is loose, expressive and full of textural surprises. She seemed to be having a hell of a lot of fun, glancing off the chord changes and melody of Fats’ classic in a way that was both oblique and accessible.

Her version of Jimmy Rowles’ ‘The Peacocks’ illuminated that mysterious tune in a way that made me hear its logic in a whole new way. She then added a virtuoso cadenza that brought the crowd to its feet. She closed with a lively Brazilian choro by Pixiguinha that had Hamilton rapping his floor tom with an open hand as he played snare with a stick, evoking the bata drums of carnival in Rio. Lovely.

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