Cool first night at Jazz Port Townsend

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Monday July 29, 2013


Cool first night at Jazz Port Townsend
By: Paul de Barros

The opening concert featuring multi-reed player Anat Cohen on B flat clarinet, with Hamilton and Seattle’s Dawn Clement (piano) and Chuck Deardorf’ (bass). Cohen’s version of Fats Waller’s ‘Jitterbug Waltz’ showed she has moved beyond mere mastery ‘” she was all over that licorice stick! ‘” to a level of relaxation that is loose, expressive and full of textural surprises. She seemed to be having a hell of a lot of fun, glancing off the chord changes and melody of Fats’ classic in a way that was both oblique and accessible.

Her version of Jimmy Rowles’ ‘The Peacocks’ illuminated that mysterious tune in a way that made me hear its logic in a whole new way. She then added a virtuoso cadenza that brought the crowd to its feet. She closed with a lively Brazilian choro by Pixiguinha that had Hamilton rapping his floor tom with an open hand as he played snare with a stick, evoking the bata drums of carnival in Rio. Lovely.

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