Anat Cohen's fourth CD as a leader has her clarinet nestled snugly in a modern progressive jazz quartet, playing her original music and select standards rearranged to suit her multicultural tastes. Klezmer, African, and gospel musics are not beyond her purview as injected into this diverse music, all vehicles that are perfect for her lilting, imaginative, bold, and eminently tuneful woodwind. With the extraordinary pianist Jason Lindner, bassist Omer Avital, and drummer Daniel Freedman, Cohen has a talented, seasoned, and likeminded peer group to execute fully her vision and personal brand of jazz that only she can claim. The dancing mode of "Washington Square Park," one of three selections with guest guitarist Gilad Hekselman (remember that name), is absolutely irresistible, a joyous and celebratory theme from tribal sources via the perky soprano sax of Cohen. Lindner rearranged the famous Ernesto Lecuona standard "Siboney" in typical solemn tones, while a similarly serene version of John Coltrane's "After the Rain" is enhanced by the assured and poignant bass clarinet of the leader. Cohen interprets Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" uniquely in a stealthy, late-night soul brew, and her version of "Jitterbug Waltz" is literally jittery - a spiky, super-kinetic, staccato-saturated idea, bouncing off the walls. Cohen's "J Blues" mixes probing south side Chicago street smarts with active New York City klezmer, and the pensive "Until You're in Love Again" also reflects Jewish heritage. Then there's "Lullaby for the Naive Ones," coming straight from a children's music box, cemented by the tinkling Rhodes of the ever aware and uniquely talented Lindner. What makes Cohen's music so special, aside from the high level of musicianship, is her fertile imagination. Through all of her efforts as a leader there's hardly a speck of filler, but rather a wealth of ideas and the desire to expand the purview of her instrument beyond putative traditional swing. In the liner notes, Ira Gitler deems her as transcendent and formidable, an apt description for the best modern jazz clarinetist in current-day jazz, and perfectly reflective of this excellent recording.
- Michael G. Nastos (All Music Guide)