• The 3 Cohens at the Portland Jazz Festival

    February 26, 2011. Posted by Alex Rodriguez.

    Add new comment | Filed under: concerts
    Photo by Glenio Campregher
    Photo by Glenio Campregher

    This week, WBGO web producer and Portland, Oregon native Alex W. Rodriguez traveled to his hometown to attend the Portland Jazz Festival. How has jazz in his hometown fared, eight years after he left for the East Coast? Watch this space to find out, as Alex shares his experiences throughout the main festival weekend.

    This afternoon, the three Israeli siblings Anat (left), Avishai (center) and Yuval Cohen played for an enthusiastic crowd at Portland's Crystal Ballroom. Along with bassist Matt Penman, drummer Eric Harland and pianist Aaron Goldber, they played an energetic set of hard-swinging jazz that offered an opportunity for each of the three siblings' musical personalities to shine. The compositions were mostly Yuval's, steeped in bebop and post-bop styles and leaving plenty of room for each of the musicians to stretch out. Anat and Avishai penned a pair as well: Anat offered a breezy choro and Avishai brought an angular, eclectic tribute to Charles Mingus. The three-horn lineup with Yuval on soprano sax, Avishai on trumpet and Anat switching between tenor sax and clarinet allowed for a variety of interesting timbres, most evident on their one cover, Duke Ellington's "The Mooche." This medium-tempo blues featured one of the most stunning solos so far this week when Anat blew a few choruses on clarinet.

    The three-horn front line with piano, bass and drums is nothing new in jazz, but to hear it executed at such a high level by such creative musicians is rare. Before the show, Yuval expressed gratitude to the city for its welcoming vibe and "uplifting spirit" -- by the end of their set, the three Israelis had certainly returned the favor.

    On Friday, Anat and Yuval talked with The New School's Martin Mueller about the Israeli jazz scene -- well worth a listen over at Oregon Music News.

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