ListN Up: Jonathan Hulting-Cohen (January 21, 2022)

ListN Up is a weekly series of artist-curated playlists that offer an intimate sonic portrait of contemporary artists by showcasing the diverse and stylistically varied music that influences their creative practice. 

Jonathan Hulting-Cohen is a saxophonist working primarily in chamber music ranging in repertoire and venue from Chamber Music Northwest and the Virtuosi Concert Series in Winnipeg, to Scholes St. Studio and Spectrum in Brooklyn with New Thread Quartet and Admiral Launch sax+harp duo, to schools and concert series across the U.S. and Canada with The Moanin’ Frogs sax-tet. His divergent approach is rooted in the breadth of his own hybrid identities, which inspire his preoccupations with artistic lineage and blending. You can hear what this sounds like on his 2021 solo album, Second Flight, and [word]plays with New Thread Quartet (both on innova Recordings), as well as recordings by The Moanin’ Frogs and Admiral Launch Duo on Teal Creek and Albany Records.

Hello! This is saxophonist Jonathan Hulting-Cohen coming to you from Amherst, Massachusetts. For this playlist, I decided to feature people whose work I am interacting with on a daily basis. Each of these people is deeply reflexive, thinks about issues of identity and culture, and works on issues of healing. These are thoughts and concepts that I am working on in my own creative process right now. I hope you enjoy their work as much as I do.

“San Francisco (I Love You)” dance improvisation by Lauren Cox, music by Emile Mosseri

This video invites me look around at my own surroundings, investigate what contributes to my own sense of place, and appreciate all the nouns that have been a part of my journey.

“Symbiotic” by Naturboy

I love this expression of love, connection, and relationship, and the complexities of all that. “It Ain’t Nobody’s Business…” That’s right! This piece also has a box breathing guide, which is really cool.

“Blackstar” by David Bowie

In this super mysterious, undulating, wandering soundscape, David Bowie calls me into queerness, humanity, and gratitude for living. Not to mention the great woodwind work by Donny McCaslin!

“Stay” by Valerie June

When listening to this song, I fall in love with my life over and over and over again.

“Prelude” from Sonata for Two Pianos by Ingrid Arauco, performed by Charles Abramovic and Marcantonio Barone

I love the seamless interplay of the pianos and the expressive melodic contour for each line, even as the harmonies are endlessly kaleidoscopic. The piece’s three movements are deeply expressive and yet to the point, a combination I admire.

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows: the meantime by Annika Socolofsky, performed by Aizuri Quartet

This piece is eloquently paced and features a gorgeous use of extended techniques. Aizuri Quartet are among my heroes, and it is a true pleasure to listen to them again!

Music for Bursting Blood Vessels by Aron Dahl, performed by Aksiom

Music for Bursting Blood Vessels locates me viscerally in my body, experiencing this incredibly complex and time-bound human organism as a series of realities that will inevitably change.

Si Dolce è’l Tormento by Claudio Monteverdi, performed by Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi

I love this entire album, but this song in particular inspires me. Rhiannon Giddens’ voice transports me to someplace timeless, a quality that this arrangement with tenor banjo also enables.

Wormhole by Erin Rogers, performed by Popebama

When I finish listening to Wormhole (and indeed this entire album), I experience the world in a whole new way. Any passing siren, segment of radio static, or sound I make on the saxophone feels like it could somehow shrink me to nanoparticle size and shoot me into another plane of existence!


I CARE IF YOU LISTEN is an editorially-independent program of the American Composers Forum, funded with generous donor and institutional support. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and may not represent the views of ICIYL or ACF. 

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