Anat Cohen

Clarinetwork: Live at the Village Vanguard

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Anat Cohen's sixth recording as a leader has her leading an all-star quartet in performance on a Sunday evening at the Village Vanguard in New York City during the centennial celebration of Benny Goodman. Appropriately, the clarinetist plays standards associated with the vaunted King of Swing, stretching the sound of her horn in extended versions of classic jazz with her own personal, tart, sweet flair. Pianist Benny Green, bassist Peter Washington, and drummer Lewis Nash are more than up to the task of supporting Cohen without any grandstanding whatsoever. The band is quite capable of fast, loose tempos as demonstrated during "Sweet Georgia Brown," "What a Little Moonlight Can Do," and especially "After You've Gone" which is generally heard much slower and somberly. Cohen's modern inclinations set her aside from Goodman on the sexy "St. James Infirmary," but she's also very respectful of tradition on ballads, blues-oriented tunes, and the unforced, easy swing of "St. Louis Blues." Solid if not unspectacular in the main, expressive for sure, Anat Cohen takes another unexpected turn in her burgeoning career with a traditional, vintage effort that may very well surprise her fans, and certainly please the older set.

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