Jazz Pianist / B3 Organist / Composer / Educator
Cohen, 28, has a breezy, phlegmatic command at the keyboard, and a deep well of historical jazz references at his fingertips. If he wasn’t already an obvious heir apparent to the neo-traditional jazz mantle, his win at last weekend’s 2019 American Pianists Awards ought to make it official.
On this live recording at the Dirty Dog Café, just outside of Detroit, ghosts are floating above the stage. Jelly Roll Morton and Fats Waller are there, no doubt admiring Cohen’s left hand, as he strides through a rendition of Waller’s formidable étude “Handful of Keys”. Cohen’s right is tossing off shimmering passages, conjuring apparitions of Duke Ellington, Earl Hines and Art Tatum...Flying close to these celestial luminaries risks a scorching comparison. Cohen would be the first to acknowledge that he hasn’t bested the heavyweights, but by deciding to play ball, he surely honors what they’ve achieved. One final feat Cohen and his trio are able to procure from the old-timers here is to make virtuosic, breathtaking music carefree and entertaining, an under-appreciated, yet visceral, proof of early-jazz greatness.
Cohen demonstrates his remarkable range and abilities, which evoke both Chick Corea and Earl “Fatha” Hines at his most adventurous.
Cohen isn’t turning out cheetah-fast melodic lines for the sake of flash. And he’s not overcompensating. His nimble touch, measured stride and warm harmonic vocabulary indicate he’s above any convoluted technical showmanship.
Cohen played with a striking and effusive elegance. Cohen’s consummate charm, as well as his remarkable knack for shaping melodies with a smooth touch, connected phrasing, and a keen ear for what creates a compelling narrative arc...
As if to assure his audience, Elling promised that he and the band would not stray too far from the familiar Sinatra tunes, just before launching into another odd arrangement that took liberties with the harmony. This one was a breezy rendition of “Come Fly With Me” that featured pianist Emmet Cohen metaphorically taking flight in a unique, minimalist fashion that sent Elling soaring as he returned to the lyric.
Cohen took piano and organ solos with a very effective and unusual alternation of Bill Evans’ impressionist introspection and rapid-fire lines with a touch of J.S. Bach.
Sophistication and fluidity layered with harmonic sensibility, and an urgency of searching beyond the immediate permeates Emmet Cohen’s individuality as a jazz pianist with roots in classical repertoire. One can kick back and let (his style) wash over, or lean forward and find wisps of new takes on old tunes, spinning and spiraling — sometimes cascading — into a flow of emotions making this very moment particular, achingly ephemeral.
Jazz pianist [Emmet] Cohen team[ed] up with his trio to charm the arse off the Festival Theatre auditorium with his ebullient swing sounds.
Not only does this first-in-the series recording, bring out the finesse play of an established legend, it illuminates the compositional talents and gifted play of a master-in-the-making as evidenced in the performance and dynamic music of such originals like “Folk Song,” “Mr. Robinson,” and “Concerto for Cobb.” An excellent musical portrait of a living legend, Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 is a thoroughly enchanting musical statement from pianist Emmet Cohen, Jimmy Cobb and the rest of the crew leaving one with much anticipation and expectation for Volume 2, well done!
...other-worldly... “young buck”, pianist Emmet Cohen, may not be as well known in Canada as he is in the States, but he is simply the most stunning jazz pianist to have emerged on the scene in the past 10 years. He certainly is the rival of the great Robi Botos as the heir apparent to Oscar Peterson.
The first thing I noticed was the bright right hand solo playing, pedal-less a la Red Garland, his delight in weaving counter-melodies, with deliberately ‘out’ notes like Martial Solal, but the rest of the set showed that his technical armory is very well stocked indeed.
We could listen to Emmet Cohen play piano for hours on end.
Cohen, described by Golson endearingly as “young and crazy,” exploded many of the quartet’s moments in spectrums of weird and splendrous color, making use of 6/8 Bach-like inventions and changes-defying chromatically-upward moving figures to splash youthful energy into the performance. The obviously proud Golson beamed like a father figure from his modest throne.
Still in his mid-20s, Cohen is a superb jazz pianist. And recording with the masters only heightens his own work, inspiring the bandleader to surprising solos and beautiful trio playing. Along with sparkplug drummer Evan Sherman, Cohen and Carter play with equal respect for each other’s skills, the bassist acknowledging Cohen’s piano profundity; Cohen, supported by Carter’s warm accompaniment, flies over the keyboard in two-hand-ed runs, beautiful ballad playing and soulful, articulate swing.
Lots of young pianists have chops and energy, but Cohen also has an instinct for meaningful aesthetic form. His spilling runs and chiming resolutions are necessary to an overall design.
Pianist Emmet Cohen’s “Harlem Shuffle” is a showcase for the collective fun of this record, guaranteed to make the walls sweat.
What lifts “New Direction” above historical re-enactment is the vitality of the playing, across the board (but especially by Mr. Louis and Mr. Cohen).
Emmet Cohen delivers with rare elegance and maturity on his auspicious debut.
Emmet is one of the most dynamic young musicians on the scene today.
For the new album, Riley has surrounded himself with a band of young musicians who will undoubtedly go on to spread the gospel of New Orleans-centric jazz. All four of these young musicians do for the music of Riley what then-young players like Donald Harrison, Terence Blanchard, and Wynton and Branford Marsalis did for the music of Art Blakey when they apprenticed in the band of that great jazz drummer. Pianist Emmet Cohen pulls it all together. His impeccable touch underlies much of the music and his solos can be sensuous and/or powerful. Cohen contributes two out-of-sight compositions including the intricate “Herlin’s Hurdle,” which features a bring-down-the-house drum solo.
Cohen arrived on the jazz scene a generation or two too late to join Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers but the Miami-born pianist is just the kind of youthful talent that Blakey thrived on having alongside him. Cohen also has the jazz message and is a fine evangelist for the music, having its history on the tip of his tongue as well as in his very accomplished fingers.
…a night at Mezzrow with his Italian “Infinity” trio revealed his kaleidoscopic sense of musical narrative....and ‘It’s All Right With Me’ …was a master class in the seamless application of stylistic juxtaposition - he followed another abstract intro with a bravura stride passage, shifted into bebop gear and jump-cut briskly between rhythms.
Cohen’s playing springs from tradition. Favoring swinging phrasing and concise melodic arcs colored by rich harmonic vocabulary, the tasteful pianist never lets his nimble, cleanly articulated technique overflow into clutter. His music’s uplifting attitude is frequently colored with wit.
Throughout the set, Cohen’s trio displayed tremendous technical skill and daring, yet never lost its way emotionally. Gifted jazz players occasionally can become so focused on pyrotechnical displays that they lose track of a song’s emotional heart, but at this show, supreme instrumental command enhanced the adventurous feeling.
...all of a sudden here comes Christian Sands , here comes Gerald Clayton, here comes Sullivan Fortner, here comes Emmet Cohen. I’m like where are all these piano players coming from all of a sudden? And like they’re all killing, you know, very well trained, all very diverse. They all have great technique, so that’s, that’s one thing that’s been really great to see.
Best Releases Of 2017: Pianos Lead The Way (Master Legacy Series Vol. 1 Featuring Jimmy Cobb)
Let’s not mince words. Everything you want from a great jazz trio recording- electricity, pacing, innovation, dynamic virtuosity and interplay, flights of fancy and passion -are found in great abundance on Emmet Cohen’s newest Master Legacy Series Volume 2. Cohen, whose energy, dexterity, and seemingly boundless inventiveness makes him the man to listen for years to come, bounces snatches of Monk to and fro.
Cohen is a young piano virtuoso with a delicate touch, assured, swaggering swing feel, and debonair flow.
Cohen, described by Golson endearingly as “young and crazy”, exploded many of the quartet’s moments in spectrums of weird and splendrous color, making use of 6/8 Bach-like and changes-defying chromatically-upward moving figures to splash youthful energy into the performance. The obviously proud Golson beamed like a father figure from his modest throne.