Clarinetist-saxophonist ANAT COHEN has won hearts and minds the world over with her expressive virtuosity and delightful stage presence. The Jazz Journalists Association has voted her as Clarinetist of the Year nine years in a row, and she has topped both the Critics and Readers Polls in the clarinet category in DownBeat magazine every year since 2011. In 2009, ASCAP awarded Anat a Wall of Fame prize for composition and musicianship.
In March 2015, Anzic Records released Luminosa, her seventh album as a bandleader. Luminosa sees Anat play singing, dancing originals, interpret Brazilian classics by the likes of Milton Nascimento, and even re-imagine electronica as acoustica with an ingenious arrangement of a Flying Lotus tune.
Anat was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, and raised into a musical family. She began clarinet studies at age 12 and played jazz on clarinet for the first time in the Jaffa Conservatory’s Dixieland band. At 16, she joined the school’s big band and learned to play the tenor saxophone; it was this same year that Anat entered the prestigious “Thelma Yellin” school, where she majored in jazz.
Through the World Scholarship Tour, Anat was able to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she honed her jazz chops and expanded her musical horizons, developing a deep love and facility for various musical styles and playing in myriad contexts and bands, including Afro-Cuban, Argentinean, klezmer, contemporary Brazilian music, and classic Brazilian choro.
Moving to New York in 1999 after graduating from Berklee, Anat spent a decade touring with Sherrie Maricle’s all-woman big band, The Diva Jazz Orchestra; she also worked in such Brazilian groups as the Choro Ensemble and Duduka Da Fonseca’s Samba Jazz Quintet, along with performing the music of Louis Armstrong with David Ostwald’s “Gully Low Jazz Band.”
Establishing her own Anzic Records label in 2005, Anat kicked off her discography as a bandleader with Place & Time, a small-combo session of mostly original tunes that was named one of the year’s best debuts by All About Jazz. She has also recorded four acclaimed albums as part of the 3 Cohens Sextet with her brothers, saxophonist Yuval and trumpeter Avishai.
Several recordings by the Choro Ensemble feature Anat’s clarinet as a key solo voice, including the 2007 Anzic album Nosso Tempo. She collaborates regularly with one of her heroes, Cuban-American clarinetist-saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera. Anat is a fixture on the New York scene at such clubs as Birdland, the Village Vanguard, Jazz Standard, Blue Note, Iridium, Joe’s Pub, Greenwich House and the Jazz Gallery, as well as other top clubs across the country and around the world.
For more information on Anat Cohen, including tour dates, music samples, photos, video, and more, go to anatcohen.com.
— from a biography by Bradley Bambarger