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ANAT COHEN TENTET: 'TRIPLE HELIX'

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Friday June 14, 2019

ANAT COHEN TENTET RELEASES ITS EAGERLY AWAITED SOPHOMORE ALBUM TRIPLE HELIX

‘Triple Helix’ available from Anzic Records on 6/14/2019

In a stirring follow-up to its 2017 debut Happy Song, the Anat Cohen Tentet reaches a new crest in its evolution with Triple Helix. The album’s centerpiece is a three-movement concerto composed for Cohen and the tentet, the Grammy-nominated clarinet virtuoso, by her longtime collaborator Oded Lev-Ari, the Tentet’s musical director. Commissioned by New York’s Carnegie Hall and Chicago’s Symphony Center for live world premieres earlier in 2019, ‘Triple Helix’ won raves from The Chicago Tribune as ‘a work of considerable expressive reach’ and a ‘sensuous tonal palette,’ with Cohen ‘sounding like a musician transformed.’

Those qualities are abundantly evident in the album version, conducted by Lev-Ari as he also did onstage in New York and Chicago, highlighting Cohen at her most ‘fresh, sophisticated and daring’ (JazzTimes). The Tentet, a vibrant mix of ace New York players, bring a wealth of color to the new work, which defies all stylistic pigeonholing: weaving in and out we hear the sumptuous brass of Nadje Noordhuis and Nick Finzer, the robust baritone sax of Owen Browder, the sonically enriching vibraphone and percussion of James Shipp, the lithe and versatile cello of Christopher Hoffman, the radiant piano and accordion of Vitor Gonçalves, the edgy yet ingeniously integrated solid-body guitar of Sheryl Bailey and the decisive and driving rhythm section work of bassist Tal Mashiach and drummer Anthony Pinciotti.

‘Oded knows my playing as well as anyone, and he never reaches for the obvious, so there’s an edge of surprise to whatever he does,’ Cohen marvels. The concerto, Lev-Ari explains, ‘wasn’t designed as a feature for Anat as a soloist with just an ensemble backdrop. I wrote it for her as the leader of an organic, interactive band, the Tentet, and the way they play together live. I composed the concerto like a tailor leaving a lot of slack in a suit: we can really let it out and expand it if we want to. It’s the most technically demanding thing I’ve ever written for her, knowing as I do what’s in her fingers and what she’s capable of on the clarinet.’ Indeed the longstanding musical relationship of Cohen and Lev-Ari finds precedent in the storied bond of collaborators like Miles Davis & Gil Evans, or in Duke Ellington’s use of specific idiomatic writing for featured soloists and band members.

Listen to Footsteps and Smiles off of Triple Helix Here