Emmet Cohen’s Rent Party

Ernest Boehm
2 min readDec 26, 2022

2023 The Year of Song and Verse №1

The around the middle of this month I stumbled into Emmet Cohen’s Emmet Place YouTube channel, which was an online rent party for the Cov-19 era, but has continued on as a joyous festival of talent. The central idea is that Cohen on piano has a semi-regular rhythm section, base and drums and the group then has a feature artist or artist to join the ~ 90 minute session.

The sessions focus heavily on standards and half the sessions focus on a vocalist. This mix of house band and guest performers covers an inexhaustible range of jazz. There are also all instrumental sessions. The core is that all can hang in these sessions. A lot of the artist are young and up and coming, but there is a fine mix of old hands and masters at their instruments as well. There are two corners stones to the session first Cohen wonderous piano playing heavy on stride and left hand yet filled with melodious right hand sound, he seems to be able to play anything and accompany anyone. The second is the musicians are joyous excited to be with each other. I find this music captivating and it was a happy accident that I stumbled on them with just before the year of Song and Verse.

Cohen is an impressive player, but like Monk his fills and rhythm playing are magical enhancements. He has used techniques from Monks stride to Rani hand muting of keys. The ensemble follows the lovely tradition of all the band soloing on long songs. A nice mixture of original songs by Cohen and guest add to the beauty of the standards selected.

Let the rent party vibe continue…