Saturday Night with Fred Hersch & Anat Cohen
Raven Performing Arts Theater
115 North Street, Healdsburg
$65 | $45 Reserved Seating
Event Sponsor – Judy Voigt
A nurturer of talent, pianist Fred Hersch has taught a panoply of current stars, Brad Mehldau, Ethan Iverson, and Jason Moran among them. But when Israeli clarinetist Anat Cohen arrived to collaborate with Hersch, she came as an equal – a romantic with a tone as big as the sky and a fertile, limitless imagination. Perfect for Hersch, who is a genius for whom all possibilities emerge from the romantic. Hersch currently leads probably the greatest piano trio since Bill Evans, but for his return to Healdsburg he’s putting it aside to make room for Cohen. And oh what fun this will be.
An Israeli arrival to the U.S. jazz scene, Cohen has been dazzling audiences with the generous sounds she gets out of perhaps jazz’s most neglected instrument. Along the way she has topped the Downbeat critics’ and readers’ polls as Clarinetist of the Year annually since 2010. The clarinet is a tough ax to master, but, boy, has she. It has roots in early jazz, and if you are so inclined you will find commonalities with her playing and that of the brilliant Dr. Michael White, the traditionalist master closing out the festival on Sunday. Cohen’s brashly beautiful style makes for a perfect complement to Hersch, who operates much more by stealth. The pianist is prone to hushed, deeply contemplative playing, until he pounces and lets his wondrous hands fly across the keyboard in breathtaking excursions that summon all the greats, from Chopin to Waller to Bud Powell to Bill Evans.
Fred Hersch is extremely picky about the people with whom he collaborates – especially in duets. Check out a few performances available on YouTube and you will see that playing with Cohen is clearly a pleasure for Hersch. It’s a pleasure and an honor for both of them, which is why their show at the Raven Theater Saturday is strictly can’t miss.