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.
On his latest album, Cohen revisits one of the music’s earliest forms without a trace of quaintness or throwback pastiche by meticulously covering the genre’s lexicon spanning the past century and melding its context with “modern” music. Future Stride instead finds the immediacy in a stylistic approach that can speak volumes to modern listeners open to recognizing its thrilling vitality. Though he’s made a point of connecting with masters from the past throughout his still-young career, Cohen pointedly invites a group of his peers to realize this project, including his longtime rhythm section partners, bassist Russell Hall and drummer Kyle Poole, along with two of modern jazz’s most progressive voices, trumpeter Marquis Hill and saxophonist Melissa Aldana.
Emmet Cohen is the 2019 winner of the American Pianists Awards presented by the America Pianists Association. The goal of the Association is to discover, promote and advance the careers of young, American, world-class jazz and classical pianists. The APA celebrates the beauty of music through America's premier jazz and classical awards. Visit www.americanpianists.org for more information.