Written by from National Public Radio
Born and Raised in Tel Aviv, Anat Cohen grew up in a musical family: Her older brother Yuval played saxophone and her younger brother Avishai played trumpet. (Both are currently working jazz musicians.) Their father’s extensive collection of jazz records entertained and influenced them all.
Cohen began her musical studies at age 12 playing clarinet. At the Thelma Yelin High School for the Arts, she discovered jazz, but her teachers encouraged her to switch from clarinet to saxophone. After graduation and two years of mandatory military service, during which she played with the Israel Air Force Band, she came to Berklee — her older brother Yuval was already there, and Avishai would soon follow.
At Berklee, Cohen’s teachers persuaded her to reincorporate the clarinet into her repertoire in addition to studies on the saxophone and the flute. In Boston, she also came in contact with other international students and began exploring the intersection of world music and jazz, with a particular interest in Latin styles. Gigging around Boston, Cohen joined up with groups that specialized in styles ranging from Afro-Cuban to Argentinean, Brazilian Choro and even Klemzer music.
Cohen moved to New York and began to cultivate a specialty in Brazilian music, working with such groups as Brazooka Band, the Choro Ensemble and the Samba Jazz quintet led by Brazilian drummer Duduka Da Fonseca. She also continued in straight jazz projects, playing lead tenor sax in the Diva Jazz Orchestra and the Gully Low Jazz Band, a group dedicated to traditional jazz.
Anat Cohen leads her own quartet and performs with her brothers as The Three Cohens. Her latest recording is Claroscuoro (2012, Anzic Records). Cohen and her band are currently playing dates across the United States.