Half Notes: Ryan Cohan – Another Look (2010)

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by S. Victor Aaron

Pianist and composer Ryan Cohan follows up his highly acclaimed One Sky (2007) with another slate of mostly originals, Another Look. Though Cohan is an exceptional composer (Ramsey Lewis has recorded many of his tunes), Cohan sought to make his latest record more performance-oriented. He supplements his quartet (Geof Bradfield, woodwinds; Lorin Cohen, bass; Kobie Watkins, drums) with Joe Locke on vibes and Steve Kroon on percussion. Locke and Kroon doesn’t disrupt the cohesiveness of the band at all, however. Kroon brings Latin and Brazilian shadings to the proceedings, and Locke’s radiant vibes brings out Cohan’s polished melodies that might owe much to Monk, Ellington and Golson, but are squarely residing in modern, 21st century sensibilities. More to the point, Cohan’s arrangements emphasize integrating rhythms into harmonies into a rollicking single unit. His band is likewise very together, reaping the rewards of touring together around the world since 2003. Another Look is a modern jazz record that deserves many listens.

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