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By Ryan Cohan
Ravine deep sounds from keys and bass with some seriously sinewy sax. Moves nice.
A river is both a place and a journey, intimately connected to the locales along its route while moving inexorably forward. On The River, pianist/composer Ryan Cohan navigates a path that courses through East Africa and his native Chicago, reflecting the sights, sounds and emotions along its shoreline. In its sweeping musical landscape, Ryan’s vivid suite fluidly commingles the ancient and the modern, the spontaneous and the impressionistic, the cerebral and the passionate. Cohan’s most ambitious work to date, The River was inspired by a trip that his quartet made to the tumultuous regions of Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Chosen by a panel that included State Department officials as well as Wynton Marsalis and other members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Cohan was chosen as a musical ambassador in the tradition of Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Duke Ellington, all of whom toured conflict-riven nations to spread goodwill through jazz. The ensemble is expanded to a septet, with woodwind players: Geof Bradfield, John Wojciechowski; trumpeter: Tito Carrillo; bassist: Lorin Cohen; drummer: Kobie Watkins; percussionist: Samuel Torres.
August 12, 2013
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