Copacabana Clarinet

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Wednesday May 10, 2017

From Metroactive

Copacabana Clarinet: Anat Cohen at Cafe Stritch
By: Nick Veronin

GIRL FROM IPANEMA: Anat Cohen is actually from Tel Aviv. But lately, she’s been enchanted by the choro music of Rio.
Acclaimed jazz clarinetist Anat Cohen has always connected with Brazilian music, though it took moving across an ocean for her to realize it. ‘I heard it growing up in Israel,’ she says, noting that she often encountered samba tunes with Hebrew lyrics in her native Tel Aviv. ‘I just didn’t know it was Brazilian music.’

Raised in a musical family, her brothers and she spent their formative years learning to play instruments. She took to woodwinds, learning the saxophone in addition to the clarinet’“which she is known for the world over. Cohen has won numerous accolades for her playing. She’s been named ‘Clarinetist of the Year’ by the Jazz Journalists Association nine times since 2007.

Cohen didn’t hear Brazilian sambas with Portuguese lyrics until she moved to the U.S., where she attended the famed Berklee School of Music in Boston. She was enchanted by the rhythm of the language and the ‘chk-chka-chk-chka’ beat.

Her affinity for the music of Brazil explains how she found her way to collaborating with Trio Brasileiro. Comprising three of Brazil’s most celebrated musicians’“guitarist Douglas Lora, mandolinist Dudu Maia, and percussionist Alexandre Lora’“the three-piece has garnered national attention since forming in 2011. Cohen plays with the trio at a San Jose Jazz-hosted show this Friday at Cafe Stritch.

Since coming together to record a collaborative album in 2016, Cohen and Trio Brasileiro have forged a strong musical bond through the tradition of choro music, which originated in Rio de Janeiro.

‘That’s the music that pushed me to be a clarinet player,’ Cohen muses about choro. The lively and energetic style is both complex and accessible, requiring dexterity and an ability to improvise on the fly, as well as a playfulness and strong sense of rhythm’“making it an attractive genre for such an accomplished jazz musician as Cohen.

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