By Bobby Reed | Published 2017
Anat Cohen, who topped the Clarinet category in both the DownBeat Critics Poll and Readers Poll last year, continues her deep, informed exploration of Brazilian music with the new album Rosa Dos Ventos, a collaboration with Trio Brasileiro. (Cohen also has a new duo album with guitarist Marcello Gonçalves, Outra Coisa, which features compositions by the late Brazilian composer Moacir Santos.) Rosa Dos Ventos contains a dozen original compositions in the choro style, including three by Cohen. In the album’s promotional materials, Cohen explains her strong affinity for the style, which originated in 19th-century Brazil: “I love choro because it’s the perfect mix of classical music and jazz, where it demands precision but everyone can inflect the music with their own personality and interpretation. As with the style of early New Orleans jazz, choro functions on group polyphony, where everyone has a role yet it’s open and free-spirited, with simultaneous melodies happening.” Her collaborators on this enticing, cohesive program are the members of Trio Brasileiro—Dudu Maia (who plays an instrument similar to a mandolin, the 10-string bandolim), Douglas Lora (guitar) and his brother Alexandre Lora (percussion, hand pans and the pandeiro, a Brazilian frame drum)—as well as percussionist Luiz Ungarelli, who plays congas on two tracks. This is spacious music, with plenty of infectious melodies. Whether she’s accompanying her bandmates in a quintet setting, or delving into a spare dialogue with Douglas’ seven-string guitar, as she does during a portion of the title track, Cohen consistently delivers memorable clarinet lines. Fans of Brazilian music (as well as voracious listeners who enjoy klezmer and Django Reinhardt) are likely to find many delights in this program, which features tunes that are both lively (“Choro Pesado”) and soothing (“Lulubia”). Cohen and Trio Brasileiro are touring together, with upcoming shows at Dazzle in Denver (May 13–14), City Winery in Chicago (May 15) and Jazz Standard in New York (May 16–17), to be followed by European dates.