Baby, it’s cold outside, but things are about to heat up inside Oxford High’s Performing Arts Center thanks to the blazing beat and fiery notes of an international jazz talent.
Anat Cohen, a renowned clarinetist, saxophonist and bandleader, is scheduled to take the stage on Saturday, Feb. 11.
“She’s one of the top jazz clarinet players in the world,” said John Hill, director of the OHS jazz band. “I got to hear her in concert a few years ago and she is amazing.”
The concert will begin at 6 p.m., the public is invited and admission is free.
Born and raised in Tel Aviv, Israel, Cohen was voted “Clarinetist of the Year” for eight straight years by the Jazz Journalists Association. She’s been playing since age 12 and has performed at major jazz festivals on four continents. Her performances have been broadcast on radio stations throughout the United States and Europe. She established her own label, Anzic Records, in 2005.
“Her sound is really remarkable,” Hill said. “There’s a presence to her sound. The way she develops her melodies when she improvises is just astounding . . . She’s a captivating performer.”
Cohen will perform in Oxford with two jazz octets from Michigan State University.
The 45-member OHS Jazz Band will open the concert by performing three or four pieces.
“We have a thriving jazz program here,” said Hill, who joined the district in August 2013.
These dedicated musicians meet four days a week for 50-minute sessions that begin at 6:45 a.m.
“The kids come to play every day,” said Hill, who’s been teaching for 23 years. “Their spirit is excellent. All the kids support each other so well.”
Right now, the band consists mostly of juniors and Hill can’t wait to harvest the rich fruit of experience when they ripen into seniors.
“Next year, we’re going to blow the roof off the place,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of talented kids here in Oxford.”