3 Cohens Help Transform An "American" Art Form

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Sunday February 13, 2011

From Jazz Police

From Israel to New York to St. Paul
By: Andrea Canter

Israeli imports like Anat Cohen (clarinet), Avishai Cohen (bass) and Avishai Cohen (trumpet), Omer Avital (bass), Omer Klein (piano), Anat Fort (piano), Tamir Hendelman, Gilad Hekselman (guitar), Eli Degibri (saxophone) are helping to transform the ‘American’ art form of jazz as they settle into the U.S., infusing their native traditions with postbop modernism. Although the high profiles of the three Cohens in particular (Anat and trumpeter Avishai are siblings) maybe suggest this is a new phenomenon, in truth the trek from Israel to New York began more than two decades ago. One of the first of these jazz pilgrims, now well-established as a performer, composer and educator, was guitarist Roni Ben-Hur. A student and colleague of the great pianist Barry Harris, Ben-Hur has built his reputation across a handful of recordings and international tours. His appearance in St. Paul last night underscored the contribution of multi-culturalism to both jazz and to our local arts scene.

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