"To the ranks of the Heaths of Philadelphia, the Joneses of Detroit and the Marsalises of New Orleans, fans can now add The 3 Cohens of Tel Aviv." — All About Jazz
WHAT THE PRESS HAS TO SAY ABOUT FAMILY:
"Chemistry. Alchemy. Telepathy. All are appropriate words to describe the otherworldly quality of improvisation by a band with longstanding personnel credentials . . . there’s something special at work – a new level of anticipation and celebration. Witness the joyful – and at times, whimsical and intimate – conversations and interweaving horn textures on Family, an incredible 10-song collection of straightahead jazz with lyrical, swinging, improvisationally vital originals"
– Dan Ouellette, DownBeat Magazine (January cover story)
"Casting their lines in tight, tangled counterpoint . . . bright and buoyant solos over percolating rhythm . . . springy and unbound – Nate Chinen, The New York Times
With a vibrant sextet, the record is an impressive display of jazz musicianship"
– Robbie Gerson, Audiophile Audition
"On the fast track to becoming the new first family of jazz . . . An engaging, highly creative and entertaining release that shoots straight to the top of the best of the year category"
– Brent Black, Critical Jazz
"Family” honors a range of musical traditions with a harmonious flow that connects the Cohen’s heritage with America’s deep jazz roots."
– Nick Bewsey, Icon, Jazz In Space
"Artists who so clearly respect tradition, and family, while eagerly displaying their own voices and joyful collaboration. – Andrea Canter, Jazz Police
Bold, coloristic group dynamics . . . a sound that is warm but edgy, smooth but ruffled and shot through with what we can call Israeli soul"
– Lloyd Sachs, JazzTimes Magazine
"A bright and often blistering take on post-bop jazz"
– New York Magazine
"The Cohens are at once cohesive, serious and celebratory"
– Andy Velez, The New York City Jazz Record
“Family” is a real treat, well-played, smart arrangements, solid songs and a real sense of a group having a great doing what they love. That all starts with the close-knit Cohens and the joy that emanates from their love and respect for each other as well as their great knowledge of the jazz tradition. And, with Jon Hendricks as the icing on the musical cake, this CD is loads of fun"
– Richard Kamins, Step Tempest
"In the case of the 3 Cohens, familial ties have surmounted distance, career ambitions, and other potential obstacles. At the forefront of a torrent of Israeli jazz talent that has poured into New York City over the past two decades, the 3 Cohens, all horn players in their 30s, have forged a sumptuous group sound built upon a selfless love of blending their instrumental voices."
– Andy Gilbert, The Boston Globe
"The band has such an infectious spirit . . . Here’s a disc with a modern sensibility at work that ought to find fans
– Jay Harvey, The Indianapolis Star
"Clarinetist/saxophonist Anat, soprano saxophonist Yuval and trumpeter Avishai reveal their impressive jazz skills in everything they play."
– Don Heckman, The International Review of Music
"Their sets abound with imaginative reinterpretations of traditional jazz classics . . . they offered a modish and modal "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans," a funky revamp of Ellington's "The Mooche," and a "Sunny Side of the Street" that jettisoned the rhythm section and was supported instead by the concept of pure counterpoint."
– Will Friedwald, The Wall Street Journal
"The clarinettist and saxophonist Anat Cohen may be garnering the lion’s share of attention, but her brothers Avishai, on trumpet, and Yuval, on saxophone, proudly uphold the family name as well "
– The New Yorker
"The Cohen family—clarinetist and saxophonist Anat, trumpeter Avishai and soprano saxophonist Yuval—have played a major role in New York City's mainstream-jazz scene for some years now"
– Time Out New York
"THESE three Israeli musicians are a formidable front line . . . The title track is a delightful affirmation of family. This trio can add tight jazz band to its list of family values. Four stars"
– Chris Smith, Winnipeg Free Press
November 8th, 2011
NY TIMES By NATE CHINEN
The title of the new album by the 3 Cohens carries two meanings, one literal and obvious and the other more metaphorical (but still pretty obvious). “Family,” also the name of one of the album’s more reflective tunes, refers to the bonds of siblinghood between the clarinetist and tenor saxophonist Anat Cohen, the trumpeter Avishai Cohen and the soprano saxophonist Yuval Cohen. The word also applies broadly to a constituency: the family of jazz, as it were. That might even be the connotation that matters most.
On their previous two albums, the Cohens put a primary emphasis on front-line intuition,often casting their lines in tight, tangled counterpoint. (One of those albums was meaningfully titled “Braid.”) They haven’t abandoned this device: it crops up in stretches of “Shufla De Shufla,” a swaggering opener by Avishai, and “Rhapsody in Blake,” a carbonated swinger by Yuval. But the seamlessness of the interplay is no longer a point to be proven for this band; “Family” concerns itself more avidly with jazz’s customs and canon.
It’s meant for anyone who appreciates bright and buoyant solos over percolating rhythm. (The rhythm section is superb: Aaron Goldberg on piano, Matt Penman on bass, Gregory Hutchinson on drums.) But the album feels aimed especially at those who understand its context — who recognize “Rhapsody in Blake,” for instance, as a boppish embroidery of the jazz standard “I Hear a Rhapsody.”
Let’s assume for a moment that you’re one of these people. You’ll gladly note a guest turn by Jon Hendricks, the wiry and venerable jazz singer, on two tracks. (You’ll also catch his nod to Dizzy Gillespie as he saunters through “On the Sunny Side of the Street.”) You’ll savor a few compositional allusions to Charles Mingus. You’ll admire the urgent flair that the Cohens bring to “The Mooche,” one of Duke Ellington’s 1920s themes. And surely you’ll recognize the four-note riff in Anat’s clarinet solo as a quote from Louis Armstrong’s
“West End Blues.” (Bonus points if you could tell that it’s in the same key.)
But what if you’re not one of these people? There may still be something for you here, best personified by the sparkly, freewheeling arrangement that Anat has fashioned for the Dixieland warhorse “Tiger Rag.” That track, steeped as it is in history, feels springy and unbound.
November 3rd, 2011
Audiophile Audition By Robbie Gerson
Not all musical families work together in a genial fashion (Dorsey, Fogerty, Davies). The 3 Cohen’s are apparently rewriting this narrative. At the vanguard of a burgeoning Israeli jazz movement, their foray into idiomatic jazz began with classical music instruction. All three were awarded scholarships to the prestigious
Berklee School Of Music. Anat has become one of the most recognized clarinet players in the world. Her 2010 release, Clarinetwork…Live At The Village Vanguard received critical acclaim. Trumpeter, Avishai has played
with SF Jazz Collective and Third World Love. Yuval (soprano saxophone), has returned to Israel to teach, but actively records in a variety of formats.
Individually talented, the three siblings achieve brilliance in ensemble play. Their 2007 breakthrough album Braid sketched a world mosaic of traditional jazz. In addition to instrument virtuosity, their abilities as composers emerged. In April the long awaited follow up, Family was recorded at Systems Two in Brooklyn, New York. With a vibrant sextet, the record is an impressive display of jazz musicianship. The opening track, “Shufla De Shufla” (Best of the Best) is an up tempo swing piece. Avishai rips off two crisp solos, before turning it over to the assured soprano of Yuval. Anat gets to flex her muscle on tenor as well. A blues piece (“Blues For
Dandi’s Orange Bull Chasing An Orange Sack”) features Aaron Goldberg executing some agile solos. Then the blended alchemy of the horn/reed chorus plays over the vamp. The arrangements are fresh and inventive.
A few covers illuminate the artistry of these individuals. Duke Ellington’s “The Mooch” invokes an uptown, relaxed mood with captivating unison play and solos. Anat is nimble at lower and higher register on the clarinet.
Her arrangement of “Tiger Rag” is full of harmony and counterpoint. This clarinet swings with Benny Goodman vitality. Yuval’s reconfiguration of “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans” is both lyrical and melancholic. The diversity of styles is coalesced by the innate ability of the Cohen’s to play off each other. Hard bop explorations (“With The Soul Of The Greatest Of Them All” and “Rhapsody In Blake”) have deep texture and complex structures. Guest vocalist Jon Hendricks lends his talents to the casual sway of “On The Sunny Side Of The Street” and the bluesy cadence of “Roll ‘Em Pete”. The sextet graciously backs up this 90 year old vocalese pioneer as he sings and scats with enthusiasm.
Family is very accessible and delivers a modern adaptation of traditional jazz.
THE NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD By Andy Vélez
siblings, Anat, Avishai and Yuval, each of whom has established individual careers. The set mixes standards with tunes by Avishai and Yuval and a Semitically
rocking “Tiger Rag” arranged by Anat. The opener is Avishai’s “Shufla De Shufla”, which roughly translates as “the best of the best” from Aramaic, an ancient
language of the Middle East. With Avishai’s trumpet leading the way, it’s a bouncy, feelgood tune. He and pianist Aaron Goldberg are stage front, knocking it back and forth, with some extended, golden phrasing from Avishai. As with much of the set the effect is like a big band with only a handful of players.
Yuval’s tune “Blues for Dandi’s Orange Bull Chasing An Orange Sack” begins with a totally different feel. After a very bluesy piano solo, the pace picks up with some subtle brushwork from drummer Gregory Hutchinson, things heating up with a fervent conversation between Anat’s tenor and Yuval’s soprano. Goldberg again takes the leadin on Ellington’s slyly insinuating masterpiece “The Mooche”. It quickly becomes an opportunity for blazing brass with piano and drums keeping everyone
on course until Anat steps in with some wailing clarinet. When Avishai comes in on trumpet, it is the family Cohen in totally swinging sync. Another choice
oldie to get Cohenized is “On the Sunny Side of the Street”, one of two tunes (the closing “Roll ‘Em Pete” the other) on which vocalese legend Jon Hendricks guests. Piano and drums frame him perfectly as he scats the second chorus, radiating happy, musical know how to his fingertips.
After all of the party music, Avishai’s meditative title track is something of a surprise. It moves between the horns, organically starting with the tenor then to soprano and finally trumpet. As a unit, the Cohens are at once cohesive, serious and celebratory.
Winnipeg Free Press by Chris Smith
THESE three Israeli musicians are a formidable front line blowing hard on Shufla de Shufla, paying tribute to Mingus on With The Soul Of The Greatest Of Them All, or capturing the oh so languid sound of The Mooch.
Anat (tenor saxophone and clarinet) and her brothers Avishai (trumpet) and Yuval (soprano sax) have separate musical careers but with Anat and Avishai in New York and Yuval in Tel Aviv, it is an occasion when they unite to perform or record.
Rhapsody in Blake is a showcase for the whole band, which includes pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Gregory Hutchinson -- as swinging a rhythm section as you'll ever need.
Singing legend Jon Hendricks guests on The Sunny Side of the Street and Roll 'Em Pete, and he still has good vocalese chops at age 90, if less force.
The title track is a delightful affirmation of family. This trio can add tight jazz band to its list of family values. Four stars
WHAT THE PRESS HAS TO SAY ABOUT BRAID:
"…arresting sophomore album…” - Nate Chinen, New York Times
“…[a] polyphonic pip.” - Village Voice
“…if there’s any group that illustrates how profoundly and effortlessly international jazz has become in the new millennium, it’s this one”
- The Buffalo News
“…this a real band, reaching a level of communication bound by family ties, deepened by long hours on the bandstand and enlivened by an obvious love of the artform. The 3 Cohens have arrived, and hopefully this is only the beginning” - Greg Camphire, AllAboutJazz.com
“Van Heusen and Burke’s “It Could Happen to You,” quickly develops into an imaginative, fugue-like interpretation. Another special number is Yuval’s “Elegy for Eliku,” an eloquent bit of pensive jazz”
- Philip Van Vleck, Billboard Magazine
December 2nd, 2007
NY TIMES by Ben Ratliff
There’s such a thing as a family sound, and the musicians calling
themselves the 3 Cohens have it. The tenor saxophonist and
clarinetist Anat Cohen, the trumpeter Avishai Cohen and the soprano
saxophonist Yuval Cohen — originally from Israel and now all part of
the New York jazz world — weave their lines through “Braid” (Anzic),
a straight-ahead jazz record with Latin and Middle Eastern tinges.
(The rhythm section is first-rate: Aaron Goldberg on piano, Omer
Avital on bass and Eric Harland on drums.) Over the past few years,
Anat has emerged as one of the best clarinet players in jazz, with a
warm and singing tone; Avishai can play bebop and ballad lines and
outer-limits trumpet sounds with tireless fluency; Yuval has a full
and relaxed sound on the soprano. The arrangements are good, but the
record is best when they strain against the composed lines and babble
together in intuitive counterpoint. It makes a strong case for each
of them individually, but it’s a surprisingly good band record too.
December 2nd, 2007
All About Jazz By Greg Camphire
To the ranks of soulful jazz families like the Heaths of Philadelphia, the Joneses of Detroit and the Marsalises of New Orleans, fans can now add the 3 Cohens of Tel-Aviv, a talented Israeli combo featuring tenor saxophonist/clarinetist Anat Cohen and her brothers Yuval on soprano sax and Avishai on trumpet, who are hitting their stride on their sophomore collective effort, Braid.
The aptly-titled album sums up the telepathic, conversational interplay of the Cohens; musically, their inside jokes, finishing of each others’ sentences and playful sibling rivalries spur the ensemble playing to refined heights, with expert backing by the seasoned rhythm section of drummer Eric Harland, bassist Omer Avital and pianist Aaron Goldberg. Featuring mostly original Cohen compositions, the sextet offers up a collection of fresh, modern jazz full of energy, daring and emotion.
The three horn players combine the lyrical tone qualities of the swing era with a post-Coltrane fervor, while fusing Middle Eastern flavors to the Afro-Latin element that has influenced jazz ever since Jelly Roll Morton put the “Spanish tinge” on his ragtime beat.
Tracks like the simmering 6/8-meter journey “Navad” and the smolderingly uptempo “Freedom” showcase the band’s bebop-derived intensity and cohesion; Harland caps a series of impressive solos on the latter with a particularly explosive percussion narrative in his own authoritative style.
The group’s softer dynamic range and poetic expressiveness come through on the sweetly harmonized, light bossa nova of “Tfila (Prayer)” as well as an engaging pair of waltzes: “Lies and Gossip” and “Gigi et Amelie,” the latter sounding like an inspired re-imagining of some grand Tin Pan Alley tune lost to history.
The group dynamic is sometimes reminiscent of the work of Wayne Shorter’s current quartet, adding abstract filigrees, propulsive decorations and ample breathing room to the delicate chamber feel of “Beaches” and the Latin-spiced Dizzy Gillespie tribute “Shoutin’ Low.” Avital is especially effective on the relaxed beat of the former, breaking up thick, funky basslines across the tune’s subtle, New Orleans-inflected second-line rhythm.
The Cohens’ eclecticism grows even bolder with the inclusion of “U-Valley.” The short tune’s inherent catchiness belies a complexity contained within the sinewy horns, which layer interlocking melodies and countermelodies over a repetitive yet obliquely subdivided 30-beat phrase.
Offsetting that brainteaser is the breezy air of “It Could Happen to You,” a charming a cappella rendition that finds trumpet, tenor and soprano tossing the pop core of the original back and forth like a game of hot potato. Contrastingly, the slow and elegant processional “Elegy for Eliku” captures a mournful yet hopeful pathos, dedicating the deceased in a mode of poignant blues phrasing and dark, humid swing.
What becomes apparent by the end of Braid is that this a real band, reaching a level of communication bound by family ties, deepened by long hours on the bandstand and enlivened by an obvious love of the artform. The 3 Cohens have arrived, and hopefully this is only the beginning.
November 21, 2007
Midwest Records, by Chris Spector
A cool mix of 50s blowing date and 70s jungle fusion, these sibs that like instruments that come with mouthpieces blow up a sonic storm that surprises and delights with it’s energy, surprises and chops. A wild ride that blows your ears open in fine style, these young hitters playing at the top of their games is a flat out treat. There’s nothing here you can’t immediately wrap your ears around.
Like a Tel Aviv Marsalis family, the Cohen siblings grew up in literal and musical conversation about jazz. In Braid, their second album together, we hear the continuation of that conversation in 10 delightful tracks that highlight their individual talents but, even more impressively, showcase their superb ensemble interplay, harmony, and complementary tones. Braid is a nice metaphor, of course -- challah, textile, and all that -- but it's not just an excuse for pretty cover art here, it's a true description of the album's overall aural impression. In original tunes by tenor saxophonist Anat Cohen, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, and soprano saxophonist Yuval Cohen, plus a wonderfully whimsical take on Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke's "It Could Happen to You," the players are joined by the dynamic and enriching rhythm section of Aaron Goldberg on piano, Omer Avital on bass, and Eric Harland on drums. The Cohens all studied at the same conservatory in Israel and each attended Berklee in Boston before moving to New York. Yuval now lives in Israel; Anat and Avishai are in New York. Braid encompasses Middle Eastern, Latin, bop, and California vibes in work that is at once imaginative and harmonically appealing from the first listen. On subsequent hearings, the subtlety of composition and the mellifluousness of individual and ensemble tone only become more apparent. So do the understated but integral contributions of Harland's drumming, which features little paprika splashes of tom, snare, and cymbal at key moments. And as with so many fine bass players, Avital's work is so key to the compositional architecture that you take it for granted until, say, a dazzling little downward scamper in "Shoutin' Low." Goldberg provides confident Latin sway to numbers like "Beaches" and "U-Valley" and sizzles with scalar high jinks before Harland's tom-dominant solo triumph in a marvelously propelled sprinting tune by Yuval called "Freedom." "Navad (The Wanderer)" is a chatty, halucinatory outing over a 6/8 African beat. Its last third, I suspect, echoes what dinner conversation must have been like at the Cohen household when they were growing up -- a lot of sympathy, interruption, harmony, imagination, and love. "Gigi et Amelie" is a quiet interlude featuring muted trumpet that brings to mind a misty early spring morning in Paris with two distant silhouettes huddled in intimate conversation. "Elegy for Eliku" is a sweet, sorrowful ballad dedicated to the memory of the Cohens' uncle (as is the album). Yuval's extended soprano lines, especially, are reed-cries that make you wish you'd met the guy who elicits such eloquent remembrance and mourning.
"Lies and Gossip" is an extended angry complaint against some mysterious injustice. I don't know what triggered Avishai to write this number, but whatever it was must have been nasty and memorable. "It Could Happen to You" is another amusingly and technically inspired conversational track that one imagines was preceded by years of improvisation and variations among the sibs, maybe in an echoey laundry room. After starting off like a Billy Strayhorn-arranged high-holiday service, "Tfila (Prayer)" has passages in that chatty vein too, and in general is the swingingest, most convivial slice of reverence you'll hear any time soon. "Shoutin' Low" plays off Dizzy Gillespie's "Groovin' High" with a cool, chromatic insouciance.
Hearing Braid, you can only look forward to the occasional continuation of this family act, even as the Cohens each continue to develop their own individual career strands.
November 29, 2007
Hartford Courant by Owen Mcnally
A blue-chip import from Israel, the Cohens-three gifted Tel Aviv-born siblings-gladden the American jazz scene with this delightful, tightly-knit, celebratory collaboration.
Anat, the middle sister, has already made a sizable splash in the States with her acclaimed recordings, displaying her verve and versatility as a multi-instrumentalist/composer. Younger brother, Avishai, a Joshua-like trumpeter/composer, is also making a stateside splash, smaller than Anat's, yet packed with promise.
Older brother, Yuval, a soprano saxophonist/composer who still lives in Israel, unlike his USA-based siblings, is lesser known, yet a formidable force in the rising Cohen Dynasty.
Because of the empathetic way the Cohens weave their layered sounds, "Braid" is the perfect title for their repertoire rooted in American jazz spiked with Middle Eastern seasonings.
On the disc's single standard, "It Could Happen to You," the Cohens jam without accompaniment, interweaving spirited polyphonic lines evoking the quick wit of the World Saxophone Quartet.
As weavers of dreams, the swinging siblings score on nine evocative originals ranging from "Shoutin' Low" (based on "Groovin' High") to "Lies and Gossip," which is richly threaded with elegant voicings.
Aiding the Cohens in their artful "braiding" are pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Omer Avital and drummer Eric Harland, who fit in like kinsmen with the awesome threesome.
Whether soaring on a flight through "Freedom" or conversing polyphonically over a 6/8 groove on "Navad (The Wanderer)," the sibling stitchers of brightly textured voicings tailor a forever-in-fashion musical coat of many colors.
Mon., Feb. 4, 2008
Erie, PA Times-News
3 Cohens: “Braid’’ (Anzic Records) ****
Move over Marsalis’s and make room for the Cohens.
Wynton Marsalis & Co. made quite the splash on the jazz scene in the early 1980s.
Now, here come the Cohens.
Attracting much attention and praise are Israeli-born siblings, clarinetist-saxophonist-flutist Anat, trumpeter Avishai and soprano saxophonist Yuval Cohen.
Their first collective recording (2003’s “One’’) might not have set the world on fire, but their second, “Braid,’’ a marvelous achievement--especially for musicians so young--should create a wildfire.
The compositions (all but one of 10 by the Cohens) are incredibly rich, yet extremely listenable, with great melodies, intriguing harmonies and infectious rhythms.
The motifs are varied, from an Afro-Middle Eastern feel to an alternating waltz-lullaby, a subtle Spanish tinge, a yearning yet emotion-charged ballad, a calming and impassioned elegy, and the album’s one straight-ahead jazz piece, “Freedom,’’ which, played way uptempo, removes any doubt that the Cohens can play hard-swinging, inventive jazz as a group and soloists.
The ensemble playing sometimes will astound. There are wonderful examples of counterpoint among the horns, each playing a different line simultaneously and intertwining with one another. Frequently, the Cohens also play in unison on introductions and themes, or in a cappella (without accompaniment), including throughout the entire 2:46 of Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke’s “It Could Happen to You,’’ the CD’s only standard and non-original. It is exhilarating!
The rhythm section, comprising pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Omer Avital and drummer Erie Harland, is superb, exhibiting exceptional ability on all manner of tempos and meters, as colorists, and soloists.
Anat Cohen, who plays clarinet (her main horn), tenor and other saxophones, p[lus flute, has so far made the most noise in the family. With two outstanding 2007 recordings--“Poetica’’ and “Noir’’ (both on Anzic), she won multiple Jazz Journalist Association and Down Beat magazine critics polls, as instrumentalist and composer.
"To the ranks of the Heaths of Philadelphia, the Joneses of Detroit and the Marsalises of New Orleans, fans can now add The 3 Cohens of Tel Aviv." — All About Jazz