"Lots of young pianists have chops and energy, but Cohen also has an instinct for meaningful aesthetic form." - Jazz Times
Seven years have passed since Emmet Cohen released his celebrated debut trio record, In the Element. Since then, the Harlem-based rising star pianist has established himself as artfully prolific with the release of two volumes of his acclaimed Masters Legacy Series, albums featuring jazz giants Jimmy Cobb and Ron Carter, with another volume featuring the great Benny Golson in the can. Cohen’s 2018 tour schedule showed him on the road with Christian McBride’s Tip City Trio, Tootie Heath, Houston Person, and vocalist Veronica Swift, among others, but he has spent the majority of the past year dedicated to building the Emmet Cohen Trio’s style, repertoire, and exposure with audiences near and far.
Dirty in Detroit, recorded in front of a live audience at Detroit’s Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe, is the culmination of a year’s worth of the Emmet Cohen Trio playing together and the results are a striking.
Dirty in Detroit begins with a staunch piano intro to Thelonious Monk’s “Teo,” instantly establishing a natural, raw connection with trio, as well as the audience. “Darn that Dream” follows, elusive in melody, allowing for a slow building collective exploration, finding tension and release in unpredictable places. “You Don’t Know What Love Is” weaves a virtuosic improvisatory narrative by Cohen between up-tempo and medium swing grooves. “Bremond’s Blues” is a relaxed tip of the hat to its composer, Cedar Walton. Its streamlined form features a sexy piano solo that dissolves back into the bluesy melody. Considered one of the greatest jazz songs ever written, “Round Midnight” has the trio reaching the spiritual and sacred, connecting with the musical ancestors— Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Barry Harris, and more.
Closing out the recording, Dirty in Detroit features tunes celebrating the legendary Thomas “Fats” Waller: a monster on the keys, as a maestro and an entertainer. His best-known songs -“Ain’t Misbehavin’”, “Squeeze Me” beginning with a lively solo by bassist, Russell Hall, “Honeysuckle Rose”, “Jitterbug Waltz”- are crowd favorites and you can hear the audience appreciation and receptivity on the live recording. The Waller tunes Cohen chose originally comprised an extended medley that closed the set. They are re-sequenced on Dirty in Detroit; an effective programming choice that spreads Fats’ spirit and humor and storytelling throughout the album. Visit Emmet Cohen.