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Anat Cohen Quartet brings luminosity to Longwood Gardens

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Thursday March 05, 2015

Delaware County News Network

Anat Cohen Quartet brings luminosity to Longwood Gardens
By: Marianne Gunther

When guests began to arrive at Longwood Gardens in the early evening this past Saturday, the site was getting ready for closing to the general public, but not for people holding tickets for the Gardens’ Jazz Series, where theAnat Cohen Quartet was set to perform in the grand ballroom to a sold-out audience.

Upon entering one of the best flower conservatories in the world, concertgoers were warmly greeted by Anne, one of the Gardens’ superb volunteers who happened to give a special backstage tour to the four-acre conservatory to one particular pair of guests. The feature on display: “Orchid Extravaganza” (showing now thru March 29).

Prior to the concert, guests were transformed into a world of tropical flowers, intoxicating smells and compressingheat, while outside, the frigid night firmly maintained its front. There was still some natural light to take photographs of amazing orchids and as dusk drew near; the evening tends to take on a different feel into the secret world of plants at night. This particular exhibit features over 5,000 orchids along with lilies, daffodils and anemones. After the winter that we are having, it was a great escape to an invigorating world of springtime.

At precisely 8 p.m., the world-renowned clarinetist, Anat Cohen, and her Quartet took to the orchid-filled stage.

The band was comprised of Ms. Cohen, along with Jason Lindner on piano, Joe Martin on upright bass and Daniel Freedman on drums. Opening the set was a composition titled “Lillia,” arranged by one of Ms. Cohen’s favorite musicians, the legendary Brazilian composer Milton Nascimento. Ms. Cohen commanded the stage with her powerful clarinet playing and from the moment the Quartet started fans knew they were in for a fun-filled and lively concert.

Ms. Cohen welcomed the audience, saying that “music is such a great way to communicate,” and she was so happy that audience members came with the weather in question, for if it was just the band it would be more of a fine-tuned rehearsal. Ms. Cohen has been out promoting her seventh album, Luminosa, which she described as a “reflection of her musical life in New York City.”

You could sense the joy that Ms. Cohen feels from playing music, and the wonderful rapport she has with her band members throughout the performance is intriguing. The Quartet continued with one of Ms. Cohen’s original compositions titled “Ima,” an Israeli translation of the word “Mother.”

She continued with an uplifting cover arrangement of “Putty Boy Strut,” a song taken from the Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist/producer, Flying Lotus. The highlight of the evening was when the Quartet performed their version of the classic song “La Vie En Rose,” which the audience responded with universal applause. The Quartet ended the evening on a high note with a Brazilian song called “One Zero,” leaving the audience on their feet with applause. After the concert, fans had a chance to cap off the evening with a dessert and coffee reception with a meet and greet from Ms. Cohen and her band.

The Longwood Gardens concert series will continue on March 21 with the Fred Hersch Trio, on April 17 with the Mark O’Connor Hot Swing Trio, and on June 6 with the well acclaimed Wine and Jazz Festival.

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