clarinet and saxophone
An established bandleader and prolific composer, GRAMMY-nominated 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 the 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. Through a World Scholarship Tour, Cohen matriculated at Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1996. Three years later, she moved to New York and spent the following decade touring with Sherrie Maricle’s all-woman big band, The Diva Jazz Orchestra. She also worked in Brazilian groups including the Choro Ensemble and Duduka Da Fonseca’s Samba Jazz Quintet, along with David Ostwald’s Gully Low Jazz Band, performing the music of Louis Armstrong. In 2014, she was the music director for the Newport Jazz Festival: Now 60, an all-star band that toured the U.S. for the festival’s 60th anniversary. In 2017, Cohen played all the major European festivals as part of the all-star, all-female band ARTEMIS alongside artists including Renee Rosnes and Cécile McLorin Salvant. She has also toured in a duo with pianist Fred Hersch, as well as with Cuban singer Omara Portuondo.
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.
Since 2005, Cohen has released a series of recordings as a bandleader on her Anzic Records label. Happy Song (Anzic), the debut album of the Anat Cohen Tentet, was released in 2017, followed by Live in Healdsburg, the debut duo recording of Cohen and Fred Hersch in 2018. In 2019, Cohen released three albums that received GRAMMY nominations: Triple Helix, Tentet’s second recording; Outra Coisa with Marcello Gonçalves; and Rosa Dos Ventos with Trio Brasileiro. She has also recorded four albums as part of the 3 Cohens Sextet with
her brothers, saxophonist Yuval and trumpeter Avishai: One (2003), Braid (2007), Family (2011), and Tightrope (2013).
Among her many awards and distinctions, Cohen was named Clarinetist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association every year since 2007. In DownBeat, she was named top clarinetist in both the readers and critics polls for multiple years, Rising Star in the soprano and tenor saxophone categories, and Jazz Artist of the Year. In 2009, she received the ASCAP Wall of Fame prize for composition and musicianship.