All That Jazz

Jazz, as everyone from Ken Burns on down will tell you, is a uniquely American music. And yet some of its greatest practitioners have hailed from other countries. Clarinest and tenor saxophonist Anat Cohen may be a longtime New York resident, but she grew up in her native Israel — and it's there that the award-winning instrumentalist and composer first turned a melting-pot philosophy into a gorgeous, polyglot jazz that encompasses everything from ethnic diversity to cerebral improv.

"I have a few ways my heritage and culture come to the table in my music," Cohen says. "Israel is a country of immigrants with lots of different music I got to hear growing up. Influences from South America, Morocco, Eastern European klezmer — it’s all part of what I heard, and it comes out. Also, playing the clarinet, it is inevitable that my interpretation of melodies, the way I express myself, the bending of certain notes or some sort of cry that may come out, is related to the sound of a cantor I heard all through my life."

Leading a quartet featuring pianist Jason Lindner, bassist Joe Martin and drummer Daniel Freedman, Cohen will perform tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Shwayder Theatre (350 South Dahlia Street) as part of this year's Jewish Arts, Authors, Movies and Music Festival. Admission to the concert is $15, $12 for seniors and Jewish Community Center members. For tickets, info and the JAAMM Fest's full lineup, call 303-316-6360 or visit
Sat., Nov. 14, 7:30 p.m., 2009

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jason Heller
Contact: Jason Heller