Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Fabulous Cohen Brothers ... Plus Sister

3 Cohens Kick Ass at Newport

Early this year in a conversation with Anat Cohen, she expressed the joy she feels when she performs with her two equally talented siblings, brothers Yuval (older) and Avishai (younger) on sax and trumpet, respectively.

She said she had been watching Albert and Jimmy Heath and marveled at the vibe between them. (As also existed when Percy heath was still alive).

“That’s how I want to be,” she said. “I want to be in our 80s and go with Yuval and Avishai and travel the world. It would be so cool. Like the Heath Brothers. They’re so cool. It’s incredible. I’d love to be playing music with my brothers as much as I can. I love them. I respect them as people, as musicians. it’s something I hope we can pursue more.”

Amen to that, based on their performance at the Newport Jazz Festival last weekend. It was sizzling. Of course it helped they had one of the scenes fine drummer, Rudy Royston, as well as the Very talented Aaron Goldberg on piano and the superb Ruben Rogers on bass. They stokes the flames beneath the three horns in wonderful fashion.

Talk about being on fire. The 3 Cohens, as they are billed, blew the crowd away. The line for CDs went on for a lonnnnng time.

Out of the gate they jumped on Yuval’s composition “Blues For Dandi's Orange Bull Chasing An Orange Sack,” and took no prisoners. It started in a slow bluesy fashion, featuring Goldberg’s sweet piano, but then built into a storm. Up-tempo. Swingin’! Each Cohen was strong, vibrant and full of joy. Anat wears her heart on her sleeve when on stage--smiling, gesturing, dancing when listening to other soloists or the band as a whole. She’s filled with the spirit of the music and it spreads. A pure delight.

The family is from Tel Aviv in Israel. Yuval noted they were all honored to be playing at a festival that had so much tradition; so many historic moments. Newport, he quipped, was “Jazz-rusalem.”

Like most siblings, there’s a certain connection. It comes through. Each is a fantastic soloist with great stories to tell. Infused with strength and feeling. It was a great pleasure to hear Anat roar on tenor sax, summoning greats like Coltrane and Sonny in her attack. She’s so known as a great clarinet player (rightly so), that sax can go under the radar. It shouldn’t. Avishai is one of the bright voices among young trumpet players, and Yuval was great on soprano sax.

[Photos: Top, Anat; Middle, Avishai; Bottom, Yuval. © R.J. DeLuke]

Avishai’s “With The Soul Of The Greatest Of Them All” was another standout selection. And they covered a couple standards with style. Such energy. And joy.

They released a record last year: Family, on the Anzic label. Hope they keep it up, and hope to see more of this fine group.