REVIEW: The 3 Cohens "Family"

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Tuesday November 08, 2011

From The New York Times

3 COHENS: “Family” (Anzic)
By: Nate Chinen

The title of the new album by the 3 Cohens carries two meanings, one literal and obvious and the other more metaphorical (but still pretty obvious). “Family,” also the name of one of the album’s more reflective tunes, refers to the bonds of siblinghood between the clarinetist and tenor saxophonist Anat Cohen, the trumpeter Avishai Cohen and the soprano saxophonist Yuval Cohen. The word also applies broadly to a constituency: the family of jazz, as it were. That might even be the connotation that matters most.

On their previous two albums, the Cohens put a primary emphasis on front-line intuition, often casting their lines in tight, tangled counterpoint. (One of those albums was meaningfully titled “Braid.”) They haven’t abandoned this device: it crops up in stretches of “Shufla De Shufla,” a swaggering opener by Avishai, and “Rhapsody in Blake,” a carbonated swinger by Yuval. But the seamlessness of the interplay is no longer a point to be proven for this band; “Family” concerns itself more avidly with jazz’s customs and canon.

It’s meant for anyone who appreciates bright and buoyant solos over percolating rhythm. (The rhythm section is superb: Aaron Goldberg on piano, Matt Penman on bass, Gregory Hutchinson on drums.) But the album feels aimed especially at those who understand its context — who recognize “Rhapsody in Blake,” for instance, as a boppish embroidery of the jazz standard “I Hear a Rhapsody.”

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