Anat Cohen streches out with 'Happy Song'

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Thursday October 05, 2017

From Chicago Tribune

Anat Cohen streches out with ‘Happy Song’
By: Howard Reich

The exceptional clarinetist Anat Cohen has spanned many genres in concert and on recordings, but never has she covered so much ground so cohesively as on her beguiling new recording, ‘Happy Song.’

Classic American swing, Brazilian dance rhythm, Eastern European klezmer, Malian folkloric music and other idioms course through an album that flows with surprising ease from one facet of world musical culture to another.

What makes this possible are, first and foremost, Cohen’s instantly recognizable tone on clarinet and the glistening instrumentation gathered around her. For the Anat Cohen Tentet really amounts to several ever-changing ensembles, as various musicians come to the fore in one work or another.

Cohen will launch her national tour of this music on Saturday night at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts, the project in many ways the most ambitious of her career.

‘I can tell you that I’ve toured with large ensembles, but being a leader of a 10-piece band ‘” I’ll let you know later how it will be,’ says Cohen, with a laugh. ‘I’m curious.’

Tour logistics aside, if the concert merely matches the tonal luster and musical urgency of the recording, we’ll hear Cohen’s clarinet in the most sumptuous environment it has yet encountered. Imagine those sinuous, legato lines of hers set against cello, vibraphone, accordion, reeds, horns and percussion. Imagine her buoyant, high-flying phrases soaring above a swirl of instrumental color.

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