This one tears up the rule-book. Forget all preconceptions of what a large jazz band sounds like, and listen to the sonic vistas that New York’s Anat Cohen Tentet opens up, including on the title track, a 22-minute Concerto for Clarinet and Ensemble. Composed by musical director Oded Levi-Ari, this places Cohen’s clarinet within startling contexts, melding Jewish, Middle Eastern, impressionistic and jazzy elements into a seamless whole. Cohen, who rises to challenges demanding an array of techniques, can play with woody sweetness at the barest whisper, or coarsen her sound, loosen her tongue and unleash the boisterous side of her instrument that is native to the Jewish, Gypsy and Turkish traditions, among others.
Even more seductive is her playing on her own Miri, where she wraps sadness in a blanket and rocks it to sleep. The band, meanwhile, kicks goals in terms of energy, groove, dynamics and, most tellingly, textural diversity. The only saxophone is Owen Broder’s baritone, and, beyond the brass and rhythm section, this can find itself in company with a cello (Christopher Hoffman), accordion (pianist Vitor Goncalves), vibraphone (James Shipp) or guitar (the brilliant Sheryl Bailey).