One of the most difficult things to achieve in the art of musical performance is simplicity. The balance between technical skills and the spirit of the music is an elusive goal. I am very pleased to hear that Anat Cohen, Dudu Maia, Douglas Lora and Alexandre Lora have brilliantly achieved that goal in Alegria da Casa, the recording that I am listening to right now.
The seventh album from Israeli-born saxophonist and clarinetist Anat Cohen, 2015's Luminosa showcases the N.Y.C.-based artist's eclectic mix of acoustic post-bop and Brazilian choro-influenced jazz. The album follows up her similarly inclined 2012 effort, Claroscuro, and provides a further showcase for her adroit improvisational skills and layered, sophisticated arrangements. Joining Cohen here is a bevy of equally gifted musicians, including keyboardist Jason Linder, bassist Joe Martin, and drummer Daniel Freedman. Luminosa also features a handful of guest artists including guitarist Romero Lubambo, percussionist Gilmar Gomes, and accordion player Vitor Goncalves. As with most of Cohen's recordings, Luminosa is a highly engaging, sophisticated, and romantic album.
Songs of Leonard Cohen is the debut album by Canadian folk singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, released in December 1967 on Columbia Records. Less successful in the US than in Europe, Songs of Leonard Cohen foreshadowed the kind of chart success Cohen would go on to achieve. It reached number 83 on the Billboard 200 and achieving gold status in the US only in 1989, but peaked at number 13 on the UK Albums Chart, and spent nearly a year and a half on it. Songs of Leonard Cohen was released on CD in 1989, while a digipak edition was released in some European countries in 2003. A remastered version, with the bonus tracks "Store Room" and "Blessed is the Memory," was released in the United States on April 24, 2007.
The best jazz groups are made up of kindred spirits, but the rare family band has something more – an intuitive feel for each other that goes beyond words and gestures to a kind of bred-in-the-bone telepathy. The 3 Cohens are that sort of uncommon collective, a trio of siblings – tenor saxophonist/clarinetist Anat Cohen, trumpeter Avishai Cohen and soprano saxophonist Yuval Cohen – whose sense of improvisational interplay is both uncannily fluent and wonderfully, infectiously warm. In Tightrope the group digs deep to explore this connection in an unaccompanied setting. Stellar guests Fred Hersch, Christian McBride and Jonathan Blake individually add their voices to the conversation.