By Barry Bassis
The 3 Cohens are a world class group of musical siblings. They differ from other famous jazz families (such as the Marsalis and the Heath brothers) in that they are from Israel and one member is a sister Anat, who plays sax and clarinet. Her brothers are trumpeter Avishai and soprano saxophonist Yuval. They each have their own careers but get together periodically to record and tour. The latest album is appropriately titled “Family” and is dedicated to their parents. Performing with them is Aaron Goldberg on piano, Matt Penman on bass and Gregory Hutchinson on drums and the special guest artist is the charming vocalist Jon Hendricks. The CD gets off to a swinging start with Avishai’s "Shufla Deshufla." Both Yuval and Avishai penned tributes to Charles Mingus—“Blues for Dandi’s Orange Bull Chasing an Orange Sack” and “With the Soul of the Greatest of All,” which recalls the mood swings in the late bassist-bandleader’s compositions. They evoke the early days of jazz with their fresh versions of “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?” and “Tiger Rag.” Hendricks adds charm to “On the Sunny Side of the Street” and “Roll ‘Em Pete.” The 3 Cohens will not be appearing in the area anytime soon but on February 11th, Anat Cohen will perform with her Quartet at Miller Theater at Columbia University.
Not all Cohens come from Israel. Emmet Cohen, a 21 year old rising star, was originally from Florida and he grew up in New Jersey. The pianist already has an impressive resume and has been Downbeat's Best Jazz Soloist and leader of the Best Jazz Combo, and was a finalist at this year’s Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. His debut CD, “In the Element” is mostly a trio date with bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Rodney Green, supplemented by trumpeter Greg Gisbert on three tracks. Included are four originals and six covers. His funky composition, “Just Desserts” with Gisbert sounds like a classic Blue Note track, something that Lee Morgan could have recorded, while “Good Morning Heartache” exudes emotion. Cohen comes up with inspired re-workings of pop standards, as in the opening “It’s Alright With Me.” Clearly, this young man lives up to the hype. On February 18th at 7:30 p.m., Emmet Cohen Band will perform at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center at 199 Chambers Street.
For at-home listening, “Best of the Best” is the first set that combines Frank Sinatra’s work at Capitol and at the label he formed, Reprise. “Best of the Best’s” chronological track list leads with 1953’s “I’ve Got The World On A String,” followed by 12 other classic tracks Sinatra recorded for Capitol between 1953 and 1960, including “Young At Heart,” “You Make Me Feel So Young,” “All The Way,” and “Come Fly With Me,” as well as the Sinatra recording that is the theme of “Married With Children,” “Love And Marriage.” Ten of Sinatra’s best Reprise recordings, released between 1962 and 1980, are also featured, including “Night And Day,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Fly Me To The Moon,” “Strangers In The Night,” “My Way,” and “Theme From New York, New York.” “Best of the Best’s” 2 CD version adds a previously out-of-print Seattle concert recording, and is packaged in a lift-top box with an expanded booklet and 6 postcards. Sinatra fans will want the double-CD set because the concert captures Sinatra in 1957 at the peak of his powers with a full band led by Nelson Riddle. The material is all from the Great American Songbook with only one ephemeral tune, “Hey Jealous Lover.”