Explore Bio

Anat Cohen
Jimmy Katz

Anat Cohen

clarient and saxophones

An established bandleader and prolific composer, conversant with modern and traditional jazz, classical music, klezmer, Brazilian choro, Argentine tango, and an expansive timeline of Afro-Cuban styles, Anat Cohen has established herself as one of the primary voices of her generation on both the tenor saxophone and clarinet.Born in Tel Aviv, Cohen began clarinet studies at age 12 and played jazz on clarinet for the first time in the Jaffa Conservatory’s Dixieland band. At 16, she joined the school’s big band and learned to play the tenor saxophone, which she later played in the Israeli Air Force band. In 1996, Cohen matriculated at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Upon relocating to New York, she quickly found work in various Brazilian ensembles like the Choro Ensemble and Duduka Da Fonseca’s Samba Jazz Quintet, and started performing with David Ostwald’s “Gully Low Jazz Band,” which explores the music of Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet, and their Pan-American contemporaries. Cohen has performed for audiences at New York’s Village Vanguard, Jazz Standard, Iridium, The Jazz Gallery, and the JVC Jazz Festival. She has also appeared at the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Kennedy Center, San Francisco’s Yoshi’s, Boston’s Regattabar, the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and the Montreal Jazz Festival. Her July 2007 engagement at the Village Vanguard in New York was an historic one as she became the first female reed player and the first Israeli to headline at the club.

In 2010, Anat Cohen released the albumClarinetwork: Live at the Village Vanguard, inspired by the music of Benny Goodman and celebrating his centennial, featuring an all-star rhythm section including Benny Green, Peter Washington, and Lewis Nash. Her 2008 album Notes from the Village, her fourth album as a leader, features compositions written by Cohen as well as her interpretations of songs by Fats Waller, John Coltrane, Sam Cooke, and Ernesto Lecuona.

Cohen’s accomplishments have been recognized in a flurry of awards and distinctions from critics and fans alike; the Jazz Journalists Association named Anat Cohen Clarinetist of the Year from 2007 to 2011, the first time in the history of the awards that an artist has earned top clarinet honors five years running. Her 2007 albums Noir and Poetica both appeared on many year-end best-of lists, including those of Pastemagazine, The New York Sun, Slate, JazzTimes, and others. ​