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JAS Café with Veronica Swift & Emmet Cohen
July 31 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
At age 23, Veronica Swift is now being recognized around the country as one of the top young jazz singers on the scene.
In the fall of 2015, she won second place at the prestigious Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition. In 2016 she was asked to perform a concert of her own at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York City and she was a guest artist with Michael Feinstein at Jazz at Lincoln Center with the Tedd Firth Big Band and Marilyn Maye and Freda Payne. Veronica’s first appearance at Jazz at Lincoln Center was at age 11 when she performed at the “Women in Jazz” series at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.
In the summer of 2016 she headlined at the Telluride Jazz Festival, her 10th appearance there – but her first as a headliner. She first appeared there at age 10 with Dave Adams’ Young Razzcals Jazz Project and the great saxophonist Richie Cole and later she sang a duet with the featured artist, Paquito d’Rivera.
Veronica finished her undergraduate degree (BM in Jazz Voice) at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami in December 2016, where she was a full scholarship student. It was after that that she moved to New York City, where she was almost immediately started performing every Saturday night at the legendary Birdland Jazz Club, a gig she continues to maintain when she isn’t on the road.
Veronica has been on tour with her parents, renowned jazz pianist Hod O’Brien and celebrated jazz singer and educator/author Stephanie Nakasian. She has appeared on stage with Jon Hendricks, Annie Ross, Esperanza Spalding, Joe Lovano, Bob Dorough, Kim Nazarian, Danilo Perez, and others. With her family she has appeared at The Great Waters Music Festival in NH, Blues Alley Jazz Club in DC, the Jazz Standard in NYC, the Jazz Cruise, and for the New Jersey and Hilton Head Jazz Societies.
Veronica recorded two CDs as a child – one at age 9 with Richie Cole and her father’s rhythm section and her mother, and one at age 13 with saxophonist Harry Allen. Her latest recording project “Lonely Woman” out this year features some of the hottest young jazz players on the scene including Emmet Cohen, Benny Bennack III, Daryl Johns (with whom she shared the Grammy Choir/Band experience), Matt Wigler, and Scott Lowrie.
In addition to performing the Great American Songbook and Bebop and Vocalese classics, Veronica is also a passionate devotee of 20s and 30s music and has sung with Vince Giordano, Terry Waldo, and Drew Nugent.
Veronica will record her next album for release this year, which will feature the great pianist Benny Green and his trio.
Multifaceted American jazz pianist and composer Emmet Cohen has emerged as one of his generation’s pivotal figures in music and the related arts. A recognized prodigy, Cohen began Suzuki method piano instruction at age three, and his playing quickly became a mature melding of musicality, technique, and concept. Downbeat observed that his “nimble touch, measured stride and warm harmonic vocabulary indicate he’s above any convoluted technical showmanship.” In the same spirit, Cohen himself has noted that playing jazz is “about communicating the deepest level of humanity and individuality; it’s essentially about connections,” both among musicians and with audiences. Possessing a fluid technique, an innovative tonal palette, and an expansive repertoire, Cohen plays with the command of a seasoned veteran and the passion of an artist fully devoted to his medium.
Emmet Cohen is committed to the intergenerational transfer of artistic knowledge, history, and traditions. His signature professional undertaking is the “Masters Legacy Series,” a celebratory set of recordings and interviews honoring legendary jazz musicians. He serves as both producer and pianist for each album in the series. The goal of this landmark, ongoing project is to provide musicians of multiple generations a forum to transfer the unwritten folklore that is America’s unique musical idiom. Cohen has observed that playing true jazz “is enriched immeasurably by connecting and studying with jazz masters, forging backward to the very creation of the art form.” Volume one of the “Masters Legacy Series” features drummer Jimmy Cobb, and volume two spotlights bassist Ron Carter.
In addition, Emmet Cohen has established a more comprehensive role in the world of the creative arts that extends beyond performing. Cohen visits 50 schools yearly through Jazz at Lincoln Center’s “Jazz for Young People” program and regularly presents jazz history and performance lectures. Himself an alumnus of the YoungArts Foundation, he now produces and directs multidisciplinary YoungArts programs nationally that include creative writing, theater, dance, visual arts, cinematography, music, voice, and jazz. Through designing student curricula and selecting master artists as teachers and mentors, Cohen connects effectively with performers and audiences. Cohen has also been involved with interdisciplinary programs directed by choreographers Debbie Allen and Bill T. Jones.
Emmet Cohen’s exacting piano artistry has been recognized in many significant forums. He placed first in both the American Jazz Pianists competition (2014) and the Phillips Piano Competition at the University of West Florida (2011). He was a finalist in the prestigious American Pianists Association’s Cole Porter Fellowship (2015, 2011) and the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition (2011). Cohen has appeared in world-renowned jazz events, including, the Monterey, Newport, North Sea, Bern, and Edinburgh jazz festivals and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. He has also performed at the Blue Note, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Birdland, London’s Ronnie Scott’s, Jazzhaus Montmartre in Copenhagen, Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall, and the Kennedy Center, and was received in the Oval Office by President Obama. He is currently Hammond B3 organist-in-residence at Harlem’s SMOKE jazz club.
Cohen is leader of the “Emmet Cohen Trio” and is a member of Christian McBride’s trio, “Tip City,” the “Herlin Riley Quartet,” and the “Ali Jackson Trio.” He also serves as pianist and music director for jazz vocalist and television personality Lea DeLaria. Cohen has appeared regularly with Kurt Elling, Billy Hart, Jimmy Heath, and Brian Lynch, among other luminaries. His recordings include the “Masters Legacy Series featuring Jimmy Cobb” (2017); “New Directions” (2016) with Herlin Riley; “Questioned Answer” (2014), co-produced with Brian Lynch; “Infinity” (2013), featuring his Italian Trio; and his acclaimed debut CD “In the Element” (2011), with bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Rodney Green.
Cohen holds a Masters Degree from the Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelors Degree from the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, where he studied with esteemed pianist and educator Shelly Berg. In his formative years he was tutored in classical piano at the Manhattan School of Music’s Pre-College Division.
A powerful and charismatic performer, Emmet Cohen possesses wide-ranging talents that are reinvigorating the contemporary arts world both domestically and internationally and are received enthusiastically worldwide.
Emmet Cohen is a YAMAHA artist.