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Anat Cohen leads the Anzic Orchestra (Anat + music = Anzic), and Anzic opens this JazzSet by letting "Samba de Orfeu" morph into "Struttin' With Some Barbecue." Cohen loves both Brazilian and New Orleans music, and connects them with ease. "Struttin'" features the trumpet section one man at a time, concluding with Avishai Cohen. Later in the show, Anat will be back.
As rich as her Anzic Orchestra is with its brass, woodwinds and cellos, Avishai Cohen's Triveni trio is spare, with just trumpet, bass and drums. Clearly, Ornette Coleman is an influence. In fact, Avishai Cohen has had the pleasure of hanging out at home with the great saxophonist — almost 50 years his senior — and playing private sessions together. Another group Avishai Cohen loves is Codona from the late 1970s. Trumpeter Don Cherry, Collin Walcott on tabla and sitar, and Brazilian percussionist Nana Vasconcelos introduced an open, folkloric sound and uncharted direction to jazz.
"[With] Don Cherry and Ornette Coleman , the main similarity is freedom," Avishai Cohen says. Both are and were "free from any preconceived ideas of what music should be."
About Triveni, Avishai Cohen says the trumpet-bass-drums format "is a very challenging setup because, without the help of piano, guitar, vibes or a harmonic instrument, you have to fill in the space, [to] say something and go on to the next artist." In fact, the essence of Triveni's airy sound is how, aware of one another, each player creates interesting flowing lines and lets the space participate. Think of artists sketching and drawing together.
This 2011 session marks the first time Cohen, Drew Gress on bass and Eric Harland on drums performed under the Triveni umbrella. (On the albums Introducing Triveni and Triveni II, it's Cohen, Omer Avital and Nasheet Waits.) They rehearsed in Italy, then flew to Newport. From Israel to New England and beyond, air travel is a huge part of Cohen's life, as he suggests in the title "Safety Land." (He wrote the tune on a plane.) Besides Avishai Cohen's compositions, he chooses one piece by Cherry and one by Charles Mingus.
As promised, Anat Cohen joins Triveni on clarinet for the closing piece, which is not to be missed.
Anzic Orchestra Set List
Anzic Orchestra Personnel
Triveni Set List
Newport Jazz Festival coverage is produced by Josh Jackson. Recording by David Tallacksen with Michael Downes. Surround Sound mix by Duke Markos.
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