Even a few weeks before her new recording was released, Anat Cohen had earned the #1 ranking for clarinet in Downbeat’s Critics poll and graced the cover of Jazz Times’ “Women’s Issue” (September 2012). The spotlight was already well earned; Claroscuro (Anzic), however, serves as confirmation that Cohen’s talents warrant gender-neutral evaluation. In the largely male-dominated universe of instrumental jazz, Anat Cohen challenges those stereotypes with every note.
The Israeli-born Cohen chose the unusual title for her sixth album from an Italian term (“chiaroscuro”) meaning “light/dark”—the tonal contrasts that give paintings a feeling of depth, reflecting what Anat describes as the musical contrasts between “buoyant and joyous” and “multilayered and intense.” “Claroscuro” is the Spanish version of the word. And aside from the obvious reference to her main instrument, “claroscuro” indeed describes the range of mood and color that Cohen and her cohorts (her working quartet of pianist Jason Lindner, bassist Joe Martin and drummer Daniel Freedman, with special guests Paquito D’Rivera, Wycliffe Gordon, and Gilmer Gomes) bring to eleven tracks that cover the world from New Orleans to New York to Brazil to Africa, and celebrate composers from Artie Shaw and Lonnie Smith to Jobim and Nasciemento, and the musicians themselves.
Read Andrea Carter’s entire review at Jazz Police