Jazz, Main Stage

Five Fast Facts About Jazz Clarinetist and Bandleader Anat Cohen

Anat Cohen, the renowned jazz clarinetist and bandleader from Tel Aviv, returns to the Celebrity Series for her third concert with us on Saturday, March 10 at 8pm at Sanders Theatre. She’s bringing her Tentet (literally 10 musicians) to the stage to perform songs from their latest album, Happy Song, as well as other favorite tunes.

You probably know her as a prolific composer and established bandleader, but there’s plenty you may not know. Here are our five facts you don’t know about Anat:

  1. Her Boston roots run deep

    A 1998 graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Anat spent a few years living and working in Boston before moving to New York City in 1999. In fact, her musical ties in Boston include her own siblings! Her musician brothers Yuval (saxophone) and Avishai (trumpet) also attended Berklee. The three often collaborate together and have released four albums as part of the “3 Cohens Sextet.”

  2. She’s an ambassador for the clarinet, but started out playing tenor sax

    Anat wasn’t always enamored with the clarinet. While she studied the clarinet as a pre-teen, she gradually switched over to the tenor saxophone in order to play in her high school jazz ensembles. She played the tenor sax for two years in the Israeli Air Force Band and was highly influenced by the music of John Coltrane. However, after she became a bandleader in 2004, she started integrating the clarinet into more of her set lists. By 2007 she had fully established herself as a clarinetist in her own mind and heart. Since then, she’s been the winner of “Clarinetist of the Year” titles from DownBeatJazzTimes, and the Jazz Journalists Association.

  3. She founded her own record label

    Anat founded her record label, Anzic Records, in 2005. The mission of Anzic is to involve the musicians in all facets of their albums, from ideation to marketing to distribution. Anat’s latest album with her 10-piece band, Happy Song, has just been released by the label. The Tentet will bring this new collaboration to Sanders Theatre at the start of their North American tour, and the concerts will feature her musical co-arranger and Anzic business partner Oded Lev-Ari, who she has known since high school in Israel.

  4. She connects with Brazilian music naturally. É mesmo? Yes, really!

    Brazilian musicians often play traditional tunes in a circle. Anat noticed that they shared a special way of passing the melody back and forth while maintaining a great deal of respect for each other and the music. Anat told The New York Times that someone asked her to play on a choro gig, and that’s when she realized her clarinet fit in perfectly with the folkloric vibe of the music. Since then, she’s had a passion for the music and founded a band dedicated to the genre called Choro Aventuroso.

  5. She loves to rock out on the clarinet

    Anat has said she loves a lot of sound underneath the clarinet, and her Tentet provides the texture and layers she’s looking for in concert so she can go wild. Clarinets can be a part of any style of music, and has lots of personality and sound in its own right. It can be soft or it can wail, and Anat loves pushing the instrument to its extremes. Musical Director Oded Lev-Ari says this “unorthodox” group of instruments forces him to find creative way to arrange the ensemble’s music.

The Anat Cohen Tentet performs Saturday, March 10, at Sanders Theatre, in a double-bill with Ben Wendel Seasons Group. Get your tickets today!

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