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Emmet Cohen: In the Element

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A finalist in the 2011 Thelonious Monk Piano Competition, 21-year-old Emmet Cohen delivers with rare elegance and maturity on his auspicious debut. Accompanied by the sensitive, swinging and conversational rhythm tandem of bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Rodney Green, the Miami native invigorates old chestnuts like “It’s Alright With Me” and “Where or When,” the latter buoyed by a gently loping “Poinciana”-like beat from Green. Cohen turns in a gorgeous solo piano reading of the poignant “For All We Know” and summons up a mournful mood on “Good Morning Heartache,” with an expressive solo from guest trumpeter Greg Gisbert. Cohen also reveals himself to be a promising postbop composer on such burners as “The Swarm,” “Resentment (Without Reason)” and the potent title track.

Originally Published