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A dynamic and charismatic performer, multifaceted American jazz pianist and composer Emmet Cohen is in the vanguard of his generation. His wide-ranging talents have invigorated the contemporary arts world with Downbeat observing his “nimble touch, measured stride and warm harmonic vocabulary indicate he’s above any convoluted technical showmanship.” Possessing fluid technique, an innovative tonal palette, and an extensive repertoire, Cohen plays with the command and passion of an artist fully devoted to his medium. 

Cohen, a recognized prodigy, began Suzuki method piano instruction at age 3, and his playing quickly became a mature melding of musicality, technique, and concept. Cohen notes that performing jazz is “about communicating the deepest levels of humanity and individuality; it’s essentially about connections,” both among musicians and with audiences. He leads his namesake ensemble, the Emmet Cohen Trio; is a vibrant solo performer; and is in constant demand as a sideman. 

Committed to the intergenerational transfer of the knowledge, history, and traditions of jazz, Cohen’s 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. This landmark, ongoing project provides musicians of multiple generations the means to share the unwritten folklore that is America’s unique artistic idiom. Cohen has observed that jazz “is enriched immeasurably by connecting and studying with jazz masters, forging backward to the very creation of the art form.” Four volumes of the Masters Legacy Series have been released, spotlighting Cohen’s collaborations with Jimmy Cobb, Ron Carter, Benny Golson, Tootie Heath, and George Coleman. 

Cohen is the winner of the American Pianists Association’s 2019 American Pianists Award and the Cole Porter Fellow. He has been named Artist-in-Residence at the University of Indianapolis. He placed first in both the 2014 American Jazz Pianists Competition and the 2011 Phillips Piano Competition at the University of West Florida and, as a finalist in the 2011 Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition, he was received in the Oval Office by President Barack Obama. Cohen has appeared in varied international jazz events, including the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia. He serves as an international clinician through programs such as Lincoln Center’s Jazz for Young People and curates multidisciplinary YoungArts programs. 

In addition to leading the Emmet Cohen Trio, Cohen has appeared regularly with Ron Carter, Benny Golson, Jimmy Cobb, George Coleman, Jimmy Heath, Tootie Heath, Houston Person, Kurt Elling, Billy Hart, Brian Lynch, and Lea DeLaria, among others. He is a member of Christian McBride’s trio Tip City and serves as pianist and music director for jazz vocalist Veronica Swift. In recent years, Cohen held membership in both the Herlin Riley Quintet and the Ali Jackson Trio. He is a Mack Avenue recording artist, whose premier album on that label, Future Stride (2021), features contemporary stars Marquis Hill and Melissa Aldana. Cohen’s other recordings include four volumes of the Masters Legacy Series as well as Dirty in Detroit (2018); Questioned Answer (2014), Infinity (2013), and his acclaimed debut, In the Element (2011). 

Emmet Cohen is a YAMAHA artist. 


Thank you to our Jazz Series Sponsor


Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts | Virginia G. Piper Theater
7380 E 2nd St
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

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