Halftime by Rachael Cohen
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1. The Manor
2. Just for You
3. Groove Envy
4. Rise and Fall of SC
6. Riggins, Higgins,?
7. Window Watcher
8. Ask Me Later
9. Free Speech
10. Full Time
Official worldwide release date - November 18, 2013
Whirlwind Recordings announces the debut solo album Halftime from Rachael Cohen. Originally from the Shetland Islands and now based in London, Cohen is an alto saxophonist and composer on the rise with an infectious tone and an uncanny storytelling ability that defies her age (at the time of this recording she was in her mid twenties).
Over the past few years, her live performances and composing skills have gained her attention from the UK jazz press & community, as well as Whirlwind's own Michael Janisch who produced the album. One of Cohen's strongest attributes is her lyrical and controlled phrasing when improvising which she delivers with the ease and sophistication of someone twice her age. Her sidewoman credentials are impressive as well, having performed with such notables as Joe Locke, Arild Andersen, Tommy Smith, John Hollenbeck, Donny McCaslin, Phil Robson, and Gary Versace.
Halftime showcases nine original compositions from the leader and a cover from the iconic Ornette Coleman titled 'Just for You'. Cohen's quartet features James Bashford on drums, bassist Calum Gourlay & special guest Phil Robson on guitar.
The album covers diverse musical ground but the binding thread is Cohen's use of melody which shines on each song. In Rachael's own words: "This album is really an introduction to my style and compositions. I'm influenced by a massive variety of music and have put a lot of that into my writing, something that I hope people will recognize and be able to relate to. The music featured has been written over a long stretch of time and pinpoints certain memories of mine, I think most people can relate a piece of music to particular times in their life. It's been amazing to hear the development of the my tunes from how they started, some of them a long time ago, to how they sound now, and what the quartet have brought to them. I've been really blown away by Phil's playing, along with Calum and Jim, I'm excited to get the music out there."
An Album of the Year - The Jazz Breakfast
"Discreet, rIch work from Phil Robson, Calum Gourlay and James Bashford creates an alluring, rarefied chamber jazz atmosphere where Cohen dances over her own unpredictable chord structures with articulacy and wit, elegantly blending Desmond's cool, Konitz's quirk and Coleman's lyrical astringency."
★★★★ MOJO Magazine
"Saxophonist Cohen crafts some deceptively simple melodies, where nuance and subtlety provide great rewards."
"From this clever set she sounds like she has a clear sense of where she's headed, with a technique to match. Cohen takes a softly devious approach reminiscent of Lee Konitz – but, as with the canny Cool School veteran, the quietness is deceptive and the subtlety is in the weighting of phrases and the hipness with which she plays off the rhythm section."
"A promising new talent... [Cohen is] a player who's not afraid to leave her sound exposed and who's aware of the importance of space and emotion."
All About Jazz
"A four star welcome for Ms. Cohen."
★★★★ Jazzwise Magazine
"Halftime represents a début for Cohen to be proud of. The playing is immaculate throughout but it's Cohen's writing ability that perhaps impresses most."
★★★★ The Jazz Mann
"She is, on the evidence of this wholly entertaining, absorbing album, a considerable compositional and instrumental talent."
"Halftime is an assured and impressive debut as a leader and composer and Rachael’s choice of musicians could not be better, Robson always impressive and Gourlay and Bashford completing a solid partnership."
The York Press
"Cohen has a warm tone, with none of the stridency the alto can be prone to. Her playing has a melodic logic which is both fresh and at the same time easy to follow... [Cohen] brings a timeless quality to her music."
The Jazz Breakfast
"Another contender for CD of the Year."
Bebop Spoken Here
"Cohen’s saxophone playing is fluent, contained and thoughtful, her tone an affecting warble, gentle and confiding in its quieter moments, but hardening where required to enable her to explore all the various nooks and crannies of her melodic, carefully wrought themes."
"The album moves from Konitzian territory via Ornette and even to the outer expanses of Anthony Braxton's early-1970s sound, the harmonies are very precise and open up like a story."
"While recent jazz graduates tend to sometimes rather arrogantly overlook experienced sidemen in favor of their mates, Cohen on the other hand sagely selects the tastefully robust guitarist Phil Robson, who does a great job in support."
★★★★ Jazzwise Magazine