Jazz Notes 3-19-2015   By Norman Provizer

For a very small country, Israel, in recent decades, has produced a pretty amazing list of jazz players who have gained attention in the land where jazz was born. One of the most formidable of those players is Anat Cohen who appears at Dazzle, 930 Lincoln, on Thursday and Friday with her quartet. Not all that long ago, Cohen was a rising star on clarinet and soprano saxophone. Today she is much more than that.

If you look at the current DownBeat “Critics Poll,” for example, Cohen, who was born in Tel Aviv in 1975 and came to the U.S. in 1996 to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston, captured the top spot in the regular clarinet category by an enormous margin at the same time that she finished fourth in the soprano saxophone listing. At Berklee, she began her ongoing love affair with Brazilian music and has amply shown that she can cover any number of musical bases. She is in Denver with her quartet (Aaron Goldberg on piano, Vicente Archer on bass and Daniel Freedman on drums) right on the heels of the release of her seventh CD Luminosa.

In Israel, Cohen spent time with the late saxophonist Arnie Lawrence at the International Center for Creative Music that he established in Jerusalem to bring together Jewish and Arab Israelis. And in the U.S., you can find her in the group the 3 Cohens that also features her trumpet-playing brother Avishai and her saxophone-playing brother Yuval. Her sets at Dazzle are at 7 and 9 p.m. (303-839-5100). 

Also on Thursday, drummer John Von Ohlen, who worked with Stan Kenton and Woody Herman, is part of a Thompson Jazz Studies program at University of Colorado in Boulder. In Grusin Hall, Von Ohlen plays at 7:30 p.m. with two CU jazz ensembles, one led by Brad Goode the other by Paul McKee. On Friday, Von Ohlen moves over the Niwot to play at Treppeda’s, 300 2nd Ave. (303-652-1606). Friday also finds, South African guitarist/singer Jonathan Butler is at the Soiled Dove Underground7401 E. 1st Ave. at 7 and 10 p.m. (303-830-9214). Butler can frequently be found on the crossover jazz circuit. Then on Monday, singer Kim Nazarian, a founding member of New York Voices, pays tribute to the “Great Ladies of Jazz” at the Lone Tree Arts Center, 10075 Commons St. in Lone Tree, at 7 p.m. (720-509-1000).

This past week, a new jazz club, Nocturne, opened in Denver; and, on Sunday, there’s the first event in a new musical series in Baur’s Listening Lounge, 1512 Curtis. New Orleans singer/pianist Jon Cleary kicks things off at 7 p.m. (with dinner at 5 p.m.). The Baur’s series continues on March 26 with pianist Justin Kauflin. The relationship between Kauflin and his mentored Clark Terry is documented in the film Keep On Keepin’ On (baursmagic.com).   

Also at Dazzle, bassist Matt Skellenger brings his group that blends jazz with world-music sounds to the stage on Saturday. Skellenger’s quintet plays at 7 and 9 p.m., followed by pianist Emily Takahashi and her quintet on Sunday at 7 p.m.  And after the weekend, the Gift of Jazz combos directed by pianist Annie Booth are at Dazzle on Tuesday at 7 p.m. while the Colorado Jazz Workshop combos directed by saxophonist Keith Oxman and trumpeter Hugh Ragin are at the club on Lincoln on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

On a final note the fine PBS documentary on Jazz in Five Points is available to watch at the KUVO website. If you haven’t seen this, you should.


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