The sound of stride piano vividly evokes scenes from the past: the roaring nightclubs of 1920s Harlem, the raucous birth pangs of jazz’s nascent years, the gymnastic burlesques of risk-taking silent movie madcaps. But in the music of pianist/composer Emmet Cohen, the past is always present, if not venturing with sly turns into an open-eared future as we enter into a new iteration of the roaring 20s.
Following his critically acclaimed 2021 Mack Avenue Records debut Future Stride, his new album Uptown in Orbit celebrates sacred connections and an evolution of sound among Cohen and his trio mates, bassist-composer Russell Hall and drummer-producer Kyle Poole. The album equally serves as a vessel for new energy from trumpeter Sean Jones and saxophonist Patrick Bartley.
“This period [during the pandemic] gave me time and space to explore collaborations with such a broad range of musical artists,” says the 2019 American Pianists Association Cole Porter Fellowship award winner. “Through that experience, I learned a lot about myself and, with the trio, discovered what makes certain moments unforgettably special. I’ve been inspired by the myriad of musicians who have helped us evolve our concept and reach for a deeper purpose in our art.”
Cohen and his trio live and play by a truth they hold to be self-evident: “All music, and art for that matter, is modern. If you are creating in the moment, it is current, and lives and breathes alongside the creator.” Uptown in Orbit addresses this philosophy through repertoire as well as production. The record opens on Willie “The Lion” Smith’s “Finger Buster,” traditionally a solo piece which Cohen acknowledges as a rite of passage for pianists. The selection, whose composer he considers a relentless individualist, features Cohen’s lyrical precision around a folkloric stride vocabulary, as well as Poole’s contemporary production aesthetic. “Kyle’s an incredible drummer, but he’s also a unique, captivating producer. We wanted to feature both sides of his artistry.” Poole lends his engineering skills to the title track reprise, as well as Cedar Walton’s “Mosaic,” the latter spotlighting what listeners have come to revere as his at once fiery and sensitive solo improvising.
Live From Emmet’s Place is the weekly online streaming concert program featuring Cohen’s trio with guest stars. The audience for Emmet’s Place has grown worldwide, with the YouTube channel logging over 16 million total views and some concert videos topping more than 4 million views. A rebroadcast of your venue’s Emmet Cohen Trio performance expands your marketing efforts to boost engagement and grow your audience through Emmet’s loyal worldwide fan base.
Press | Bucklesweet Media, Amanda Sweet
Label | Mack Avenue Records
Discography | Emmet Cohen on All Music