Rule Of Three: Cohen, Barth, Wilson concert a unique evening of jazz

Rule Of Three: Cohen, Barth, Wilson concert a unique evening of jazz

A “dream project” jazz trio will finally play after being delayed by the pandemic.

On June 25, clarinetist Anat Cohen, saxophonist Steve Wilson and jazz pianist Bruce Barth will perform as a trio for an evening fundraiser presented by the Jazz Society of Northwest Arkansas.

All three are “internationally acclaimed. They’re kind of at the top of the heap and what they all do, they’ve all performed with one another in different incarnations,” Robert Ginsburg, founder and artistic director of NWA Jazz Society, explains. He adds that the event was in the planning stages before covid hit. This will be the first time that they’ve performed anywhere as a trio.

“Typically you think of a jazz ensemble as a rhythm section with piano, bass and drums or guitar, bass and drums, and then maybe a soloist or two. [For] this there’s no bass player. There’s no drummer. It really opens up the music in a different way because the task of holding down the rhythm is then shared by these soloists. The task of holding down the bottom, which is what the bass player does, is also shared. So it’s almost like a jazz chamber group, in a way. All of that makes for just kind of an exciting concept,” Ginsburg adds.

“With players that are of this caliber, it opens the door of possibilities, not only for what the audience is going to hear, but what the musicians are going to be inspired to do,” he adds.

Cohen has been voted “year after year as Jazz Journalist Society’s Best Clarinetist of the Year,” Ginsburg explains. She’s known for the “repertoire and style that she brings to the instrument. She’s huge into Brazilian music, and she’s huge into jazz and she’s huge into traditional jazz. She’s even dipped her foot into the classical music world. So everything that she brings here just enhances the idea of these three musicians all collaborating.”

“Steve Wilson is legendary. His career is all over the map. He plays with one of the most renowned jazz orchestras, now the Maria Schneider Orchestra. He’s also accompanied some of the great singers, and just played with this amazing who’s who of jazz artists over the years.”

A former accompanist for Tony Bennett, Bruce Barth was called the best pianist in New York by the Village Voice.

Barth actually performed in Northwest Arkansas about six years ago with Cohen, which was the last time that he was in the area, he says. Prior to that he performed as a duo with Steve Wilson in Northwest Arkansas. He says this show is “a bit of a reunion,” for them.

“I think it’ll be very fun. We love playing together, and I think there will be a lot of spontaneity. I think it’s going to be pretty wide open,” Barth adds. “We share a similar philosophy with the music. Whereas we never know where the music’s going to go. … One thing we’re trying to do is to surprise ourselves and keep it interesting and fresh.”



Cohen, Barth, Wilson

Jazz Trio

WHEN — 6:30 p.m. June 25

WHERE — Kathy Thompson Studio, 3 E. Mountain St., for heavy hors d’ouveres and drinks provided by Case Dighero of Edible Culture, and Roots HQ, 1 E. Mountain St. in Fayetteville, for the performance

COST — $75 & up


Categories: Music