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Anat Cohen, Pharaoh Sanders, Christian McBride: a jazz convergence

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Thursday February 19, 2015

From The Seattle Times

Anat Cohen, Pharaoh Sanders, Christian McBride: a jazz convergence
By: Paul de Barros

Three exceptionally strong jazz acts hit Seattle this week — clarinetist/saxophonist Anat Cohen, performing with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra (SRJO); veteran saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders, with an all-star band that includes drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts, guitarist Stanley Jordan and bassist Charnett Moffett; and bassist Christian McBride’s trio.

Cohen, who hails originally from Israel, has in the last few years become, hands down, the ascendant clarinetist in jazz.

Not just her beautiful, soulful sound but her architectural sense of a solo and exuberant sense of rhythm make her one of the most absorbing players — on any instrument — in the music today.

“She’s just at the top of the heap these days,” agrees SRJO co-director Michael Brockman. “She’s such a fiery, spirited player. She’s clearly a composer on the clarinet.”

For her concerts with the orchestra — Saturday in Seattle, Sunday in Kirkland — Cohen sent arrangements of “Cry Me a River,” “La Comparsa,” “Ingênuo,” and Johnny Griffin’s “Do It,” all written by her friend Oded Lev-Ari.

She will also perform her intriguing version of Fats Waller’s bubbly “Jitterbug Waltz,” written in 9/8 time and including a mind-blowing, contrary bass line.

SRJO members will contribute charts for the show, including trombonist Dave Marriott’s take on Abdullah Ibrahim’s “The Wedding” and Brockman’s own arrangement of Lonnie Smith’s “And the World Weeps,” both of which Cohen has recorded on her own. Seattle pianist Jovino Santos Neto contributes his arrangements of Hermeto Pascoal’s “Bebê” and “Doce de Coco.”

Cohen is a profoundly multicultural player, who draws on Middle Eastern and Latin styles. Brockman sees that breadth as important for the SRJO, which has until now concentrated on the mainstream tradition.

“It’s time for our audiences to come along with us and explore a wider swath of large ensemble jazz that comes from all parts of the world,” says Brockman.

In addition to her shows, Cohen will do an onstage interview Sunday, Feb. 22, at Temple Beth Am.

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