EMMET COHEN MASTER LEGACY SERIES
The Emmet Cohen Trio featuring Benny Golson
January 16, 2020 | 7:30 PM
Multifaceted American jazz pianist and composer Emmet Cohen has emerged as one of his generation’s pivotal figures in music and the related arts. A recognized prodigy, Cohen began Suzuki method piano instruction at age three, and his playing quickly became a mature melding of musicality, technique, and concept. Downbeat observed that his “nimble touch, measured stride and warm harmonic vocabulary indicate he’s above any convoluted technical showmanship.” In the same spirit, Cohen himself has noted that playing jazz is “about communicating the deepest levels of humanity and individuality; it’s essentially about connections,” both among musicians and with audiences. He leads his namesake ensemble, the “Emmet Cohen Trio,” is a vibrant solo performer, and is in constant demand as a sideman. Possessing a fluid technique, an innovative tonal palette, and an extensive repertoire, Cohen plays with the command of a seasoned veteran and the passion of an artist fully devoted to his medium.
Emmet Cohen is committed to the intergenerational transfer of artistic knowledge, history, and traditions. His signature professional undertaking is the “Masters Legacy Series,” a celebratory set of recordings and interviews honoring legendary jazz musicians. He serves as both producer and pianist for each album in the series. The goal of this landmark, ongoing project is to provide musicians of multiple generations a forum to transfer the unwritten folklore that is America’s unique musical idiom. Cohen has observed that playing jazz “is enriched immeasurably by connecting and studying with jazz masters, forging backward to the very creation of the art form.” Volume one of the “Masters Legacy Series” features drummer Jimmy Cobb, and volume two spotlights bassist Ron Carter. Future “Masters Legacy Series” releases include Cohen’s recordings with Benny Golson, Tootie Heath, and George Coleman.
Emmet Cohen’s exacting keyboard artistry has garnered numerous accolades from the international jazz community. He placed first in both the American Jazz Pianists competition (2014) and the Phillips Piano Competition at the University of West Florida (2011). He was a finalist in the prestigious American Pianists Association’s Cole Porter Fellowship (2015, 2011) and the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition (2011). Cohen has appeared in world-renowned jazz events, including the Newport, Monterey, North Sea, Bern, Edinburgh, Detroit, and Jerusalem jazz festivals, as well as the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia. He has also performed at the Village Vanguard, the Blue Note, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Birdland, Jazz Standard, London’s Ronnie Scott’s, Jazzhaus Montmartre in Copenhagen, Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall, the Cotton Club in Tokyo, and the Kennedy Center, and was received in the Oval Office by President Obama. He is currently Hammond B-3 organist-in-residence at Harlem’s SMOKE jazz club.
Besides leading the “Emmet Cohen Trio,” Cohen has appeared regularly with Ron Carter, Benny Golson, Jimmy Cobb, George Coleman, Jimmy Heath, Tootie Heath, Houston Person, Kurt Elling, Billy Hart, and Brian Lynch, among others. Cohen is also a member of Christian McBride’s trio “Tip City,” the “Herlin Riley Quartet,” and the “Ali Jackson Trio,” and serves as pianist and music director for jazz vocalist and television personality Lea DeLaria. His recordings include Masters Legacy Series featuring Ron Carter (2018); Masters Legacy Series featuring Jimmy Cobb (2017); New Directions (2016) with Herlin Riley; Questioned Answer (2014), co-produced with Brian Lynch; Infinity (2013), featuring his Italian Trio; and his acclaimed debut CD In the Element (2011), with bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Rodney Green.
Benny Golson is a multitalented and internationally famous jazz legend. He is a composer, arranger, lyricist, producer and tenor saxophonist of world note. Raised with an impeccable musical pedigree, Golson has played in the bands of world famous Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Earl Bostic and Art Blakey. Few jazz musicians can claim to be true innovators and even fewer can boast of a performing and recording career that literally redefines the term “jazz”. Benny Golson has made major contributions to the world of jazz with such jazz standards as Killer Joe, I Remember Clifford, Along Came Betty, Stablemates, Whisper Not, Blues March, Five Spot After Dark, Are you Real?
Benny Golson is the only living jazz artist to have written 8 standards for jazz repertoire. These jazz standards have found their way into countless recordings internationally over the years and are still being recorded. He has recorded over 30 albums for many recording companies in the United States and Europe under his own name and innumerable ones with other major artists.
A prodigious writer, Golson has written well over 300 compositions. For more than 60 years, Golson has enjoyed an illustrious, musical career in which he has not only made scores of recordings but has also composed and arranged music for Count Basie, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Sammy Davis Jr., Mama Cass Elliott, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Shirley Horn, David Jones and the Monkees, Quincy Jones, Peggy Lee, Carmen McRae, Anita O’Day, Itzhak Perlman, Oscar Peterson, Lou Rawls, Mickey Rooney, Diana Ross, The Animals (Eric Burden), Mel Torme, George Shearing and Dusty Springfield.
His prolific writing includes scores for hit TV series and films including M*A*S*H, Mannix, Mission Impossible, Mod Squad, Room 222, Run for Your Life, The Partridge Family and The Academy Awards. He has composed for television specials on ABC, CBS and NBC as well as television specials for BBC in London and Copenhagen. Benny wrote the theme for Bill Cosby’s last TV show and the French film Des Femmes Disparaissent.
Benny Golson possesses mastery of the jazz medium. He has not only blazed a trail in the world of jazz but is passionate about teaching jazz to young and old alike. He has lectured at Lincoln Center through a special series by Wynton Marsalis, to doctoral candidates at New York University and the faculty of the National University at San Diego.
Golson’s musical odyssey has taken him around the world. In 1987 he was sent by the U.S. State Department on a cultural tour of Southeast Asia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma and Singapore. Later, Philip Morris International sent him on an assignment to Bangkok, Thailand to write music for the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra.
A live performer who consistently knocks audiences off their feet, Benny Golson has given hundreds of performances in the USA, Europe, South America, the Far East and Japan for decades. This humble musical giant continues to impress critics, fans and fellow musicians with his prodigious contributions to the world of jazz.
EMMET COHEN’S MASTERS LEGACY SERIES
Emmet Cohen’s mission is to celebrate the last remaining legendary jazz artists from an era long gone, by documenting, featuring, and preserving their artistry and excellence in the later stages of their careers. As the producer of the Masters Legacy Series, Cohen has released two acclaimed recordings including Volume 1 with Jimmy Cobb and Volume 2 with Ron Carter. Subsequent recordings are scheduled to follow. This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the renowned bassist Ron Carter in the Emmet Cohen Trio.
“Despite being one of the most original, identifiable, and recorded musicians of the 20th century, throughout our live recording, Mr. Carter’s bass lines and musicality continuously surprised and inspired me to reach for new harmonic heights. I felt his dedication to the moment and his stoic presence, yet I also felt him taking daring risks, pushing my capabilities, and driving each tune down an untested path. Even listening back to the album, experiencing Mr. Carter is exhilarating.” Emmet Cohen