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Anat Cohen Kicks Off Residency

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Friday February 03, 2017

From The Detroit News

Clarinetist Anat Cohen kicks off a week in Michigan
By: Susan Whitall

Anat Cohen knows that her instrument, the clarinet, doesn’t always get the respect it deserves.

Earlier generations of musicians picked up the clarinet because they loved the sly, swinging way Benny Goodman played it, or because of the syncopated New Orleans style of players such as Pete Fountain.

But maybe it was too many squeaking clarinets in too many middle school bands that helped push it out of favor.

“Luckily the word ‘squeak’ is not in the vocabulary anymore, so the clarinet is not a terrifying thing,” said Cohen, 37, with a laugh.

The Israeli-born musician comes to Detroit’s Carr Center on Saturday for a concert kicking off a week of activities as Michigan State University’s Jazz Artist-in-Residence.

Make no mistake, she is fond of Benny Goodman, as well as Artie Shaw and other swing luminaries.

Last summer at the Detroit Jazz Festival, Cohen played in a special Goodman tribute, “Benny’s Threads,” along with three other world-class clarinetists. While she can play in a “hot,” swing jazz way, that’s just one facet of her style.

The native of Tel Aviv, who has topped the Downbeat magazine readers and critics’ polls as “Best Clarinetist” for years, Cohen is known as a player with diverse cultural influences, including Brazilian choro music, Argentine tango and various Afro-Cuban styles.

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