Happy Song

On this disc featuring Anat Cohen’s tentet, we hear the clarinetist’s first recorded reference to Klezmer music, and it’s a thrill. That tune, “Anat’s Doina,” was arranged by her co-producer, Oded Lev-Ari, who shares her birthplace, Tel Aviv. The extended piece taps into those roots right off with Cohen’s stirring, searching figures played against a low, two-one pulse that’s also reminiscent of a New Orleans march; bassist Tal Mashiach has a splendid moment adventuring in arco. Cohen is magnificent in the middle part, a fast dance, before the music spreads out into a jazzy-funky place in the final section. Happy Song opens with the ebullient title track and “Valsa Para Alice,” a slow song that showcases trumpeter Nadje Noordhuis, trombonist Nick Finzer, vibraphonist James Shipp, and accordionist Vitor Gonçalves. Cohen gets in a Benny Goodman mood with a cover of the perky 1930s hit “Oh Baby.” She has fun with a call-and-response with the other horns at one point, and drummer Anthony Pinciotti is hot. Egberto Gismonti’s “Lôro” lends a Brazilian vibe, Gonçalves in a primary role, then the leader improvises over Sheryl Bailey’s feral electric guitar on “Trills and Thrills.” Cohen plays the sad, old melody of “Goodbye” faithfully and beautifully, and is artfully abetted by Gonçalves, playing both accordion and piano. The closer is “Kenedougou Foly” by Neba Solo of Mali. Shipp’s prepared vibes nicely approximate Solo’s balafon (wood xylophone), and deep-reeds player Owen Broder gets some time on this wonderfully rhythmic African excursion. The album is multifaceted, virtuosic, and lots of fun.