The first set Thursday night began with an extended improvisation on “Jitterbug Waltz,” Cohen skipping octaves with the ease of a schoolgirl skipping rope, flitting from 4/4 to samba to free form to, once in a while, waltz. She followed with a stirring original ballad, “Purple Peace.” Along the way came Coltrane’s lovely “Lonnie’s Lament” and a couple rousing Brazilian numbers. Her band—the dexterous Omer Avital on bass, the delicately dynamic Daniel Friedman on drums, and (replacing Jason Lindner for the gig) a hair-raisingly fluent Ed Simon on piano—gives her gracious backing and eggs her on.
They play at the Vanguard through Sunday and at various spots around the country through the summer. (See her website for a schedule.) Catch them.