From Brazilian to avant-garde, brilliant new jazz albums

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Tuesday March 10, 2015

From The Chicago Tribune

From Brazilian to avant-garde, brilliant new jazz albums
By: Howard Reich

The next wave of important jazz recordings shows musicians experimenting with new forms and revivifying old ones.

Among the highlights:

Anat Cohen: “Luminosa” (Anzic Records). During the past few years, Cohen has emerged as a singular voice on clarinet, the disarming lyricism of her playing matched by the nimbleness of her technique and the cushioned warmth of her tone (more difficult to achieve on the recalcitrant clarinet than casual listeners might realize). Brazilian music long has been a closely held interest of Cohen’s, and she gives it radiant voice in “Luminosa.” But Cohen defines the music more broadly than some might, stepping far beyond familiar bossa nova repertoire. Instead, Cohen brings her imploring, slightly muted tone to music of Milton Nascimento, rides a pulsing rhythmic accompaniment in an original by Romero Lubambo (who plays guitar here) and duets joyously with accordionist Vitor Goncalves in dance-inspired music by Severino Araujo. Some of the most compelling works here were composed by Cohen, who distinguishes herself with the sublime melody of “Ima,” the wails and whoops of “Happy Song” and the catchy main riff of “In the Spirit of Baden.” She’s joined by her quartet and various guests in music that ultimately addresses the ear gently, as Cohen’s art usually does. (To be released Tuesday.)

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