Born out of Brooklyn’s ShapeShifter Lab, the Anat Cohen Tentet, led by Grammy-nominated clarinet virtuoso Anat Cohen, has evolved into one of today’s most exciting large ensembles. Following the success of its critically acclaimed 2017 debut album, Happy Smile, the group is now set to release its sophomore album, Triple Helix, on June 14 via Anzic Records. This LP marks a new evolution for the Tentet and you can preview it by listening to the premiere of one of its tracks, Cohen’s composition “Footsteps & Smiles,” via the player below.
The centerpiece of Triple Helix is a three-movement concerto of the same name, composed for the ensemble by its musical director and Cohen’s longtime collaborator, Oded Lev-Ari. He explains via a press release that this concerto was not simply written for Cohen as a soloist with a backing band, but “for her as the leader of an organic, interactive band, the Tentet, and they way they play together.”
The band is more than willing to take on the challenge posed by the piece, formed as it is by some of today’s most adventurous musicians, including saxophonist/clarinetist Owen Broder, trumpeter/flugelhorn player Nadjue Noordhuis, trombonist Nick Finzer, cellist Christopher Hoffman, guitarist Sheryl Bailey, pianist/accordionist Vitor Goncalves, bassist Tal Mashiach, drummer Anthony Pinciotti, vibraphonist/percussionist James Shipp.
Along with the three-movement concerto, Triple Helix features six tracks, including Cohen’s original compositions, one of which is “Footsteps & Smiles,” a riot of clave rhythm and momentum, with shades of boogaloo and what one could call chamber-funk. The other tracks on the album include Cohen’s arrangement of “Milonga Del Angel” by the much-missed Astor Piazzolla, and two Lev-Ari arrangements: one, the traditional Mexican folk song “La Llorona,” the other, the Gene Roland/Stan Kenton showpiece “Lonesome Train,” reworked to suit the idiosyncratic strength of the Tentet.
Featured photo by Anne Ryan,
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