Familiar sound: Anat Cohen picked as top clarinetist


NEW YORK (JTA) — For the fifth straight year, Tel Aviv native Anat Cohen received the clarinetist of the year award from the Jazz Journalists Association.

The awards were presented Saturday in New York City.

Cohen’s last CD, “Clarinetwork,” featured the music of legendary clarinetist Benny Goodman. It was recorded live at the Village Vanguard in 2009 during a weeklong centennial tribute to Goodman and included Benny Green on piano, Peter Washington on bass and Lewis Nash on drums.

In 2007, Cohen was the first woman and the first Israeli to headline the famed New York City jazz club.

Based in New York since 1999, she is widely regarded as well for her versatility on the tenor saxophone, playing contemporary jazz as well as Brazilian choro and other world music.

Cohen, a graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, provides an important modern voice for an instrument that is no longer widely played, according to Larry Monroe, Berklee’s vice president of international programs.

Monroe praised her strong musicality and superb technique, as well as her great sense of the clarinet’s tradition and tremendous vision of where it might go.

“I am not at all surprised by her success,” he said.

Cohen’s brothers, Yuval and Avishai, also are acclaimed jazz musicians. Together they have recorded as the Three Cohens.

Cohen told JTA that she is headed to Israel for a guest appearance at the Giv’ataim Theater with the Shtricker Big Band conducted by her brother Yuval. Later this summer she is scheduled to perform in New York, Montreal and at the Newport Jazz Festival.

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