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March 21, 2003 - Image 77

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-03-21

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where the faculty included the late and
legendary jazz performer Milt Hinton.
Other mentors include DePaul pro-
fessor Cliff Colnot and jazz improvisa-
tion icon David Bloom.
When Cohan went looking for
work, he connected with Freddie
Hubbard, Regina Carter, Joe La
Barbera and Kent Jordan among many
others in concert. He also earned com-
mercial credits for clients such as
Sears, Toyota and Budweiser.
Education is an important part of
Cohan's initiatives. He has been on the
faculty of the New York Summer
School of the Arts and Chicago's Bloom
School of Ja7.z and participated in
Urban Gateways and MusicAlive!, two
programs through which he's worked
directly with very young students.
"I never set out to compose music,"
Cohan says. "When I was still a teen,
my teacher would give me different
approaches to playing, and I would
compose music to use those approaches.
I worked at a synthesizer and computer,
and that's the same way I write now."

L_
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Jewish Connections

Judaism and rituals were very important
to Cohan as he was growing up. After
his parents were divorced when he was
quite young, he lived with his grandpar-
ents, who had strong religious values.
"My grandfather gave me a sense of
faith," says Cohan, who is single and
enjoys going out to hear great music,
hanging out with friends and practic-
ing yoga.
Cohan practices on the piano every
day, but he has no writing routine.
Working on a new collection of songs
for his next CD, the entertainer
explains that the music chooses the
time for composing, and he tries not
to force it. When the moment feels
right for writing, the piano enthusiast
takes to a home studio.
"The musicians who will be with me
in Detroit have strong jazz back-
grounds, open minds and spontaneous
spirits," Cohan says.
"That lets the music go in different
directions whenever we work together.
Sounds develop on stage, and it's like
composing in the moment. I want to
bring something to audiences that
they've never heard before." ❑

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3/21

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77

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