"Jitterbug Waltz" - Anat Cohen & Fred Hersh

This week's video shows clarinetist Anat Cohen and pianist Fred Hersch's performance of the standard "Jitterbug Waltz," in 2016. Both Anat and Fred are living greats on their respective instruments. I have come back to their interpretation of this Fats Waller tune many times because of their undeniable chemistry, their smile-inducing playfulness, and their seamless shifts between the swing style, rubato, the straight waltz feel, and Waller's hallmark stride style.

An Israeli, Anat and two of her brothers, Yuval (sax) and Avishai (trumpet), all have established careers as jazz musicians. Anat's versatility has become key to her musical identity. Searching her albums and videos will uncover performances of straight-ahead jazz, like this video, klezmer music, and choro music from Brazil. While she also plays saxophone well, her control, flexibility, sound, and creativity, make her an outstanding clarinetist.

Fred Hersch has lived in NYC for decades, playing, teaching, and composing. Growing up he studied classical piano, only becoming interested in jazz while a college student. Since his career began, he has collaborated with a large number of musicians in the jazz and classical worlds including Renée Fleming, Audra McDonald (voice), Joshua Bell (violin), Christopher Riley (piano), Joe Henderson (sax), Stan Getz (sax), and Kurt Elling (voice). In 2003, Fred received a Guggenheim Fellowship, to support his composition of Leaves of Grass, for a male and a female jazz vocalist, accompanied by an octet. The final work comprises of 20 songs and instrumental movements with text from Walt Whitman's famous poetry collection. Fred mixes numerous styles of jazz and classical music throughout and I would highly encourage checking it out! Beyond his life in music, Fred Hersch is a prominent activist for the LGBTQ community, and for the rights of people living with HIV and AIDS.