Java & Jazz with Estar Cohen Quintet

Estar Cohen is an award-winning vocalist, lyricist, composer, and educator based out of Ypsilanti, Michigan. She has performed alongside renowned musicians including Jon Hendricks, Peter Eldridge, Tad Weed, Fabian Almazan, Pete Siers, David Bixler, Vinny Golia, and Ken Filiano, among others. In 2018, she received the ASCAP Foundation’s Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award for her piece, “Endings,” and made her debut at the prestigious Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island. She was also featured as an up and coming artist on the acclaimed Vocal Mania series (run by Janis Siegel of Manhattan Transfer and Lauren Kinhan of The New York Voices) in New York City, opening for legendary Jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan.

Cohen’s ensemble is dedicated to performing original music that reflects her exploration in poetry, composition, and the deep curiosity of the stories that define us. The project formed in 2011 and has since cultivated a rich, unique sound rooted in thoughtful songwriting and spirited improvisation. They have released two albums (“Waiting For Dawn” 2014, “Live at Willis Sound” 2017) and have performed at festivals, recitals halls, concert houses, and clubs throughout the United States.

Cohen graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance from the University of Toledo where she studied voice, improvisation, and composition with pianist Tad Weed, guitarist Jay Weik, and “father of vocalese” Jon Hendricks who has called her lyrics “beautiful.” Since her graduation, she has performed at notable venues and festivals including the Newport Jazz Festival, a headlining set at the Ann Arbor Edgefest with Tad Weed’s Freedom Ensemble, and the Toledo Museum of Art, among many others.

Cohen is also an avid writer and published poet, penning lyrics for other artists in addition to her own music. As an educator, she has presented clinics in composition, improvisation, and voice at institutions including Albion College, Spring Arbor University, and ChiArts Chicago. She has also taught songwriting with Michigan label Earthwork Music in partnership with the non-profit SEEDS. She is currently a music instructor in the Ann Arbor area.

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