How Halftime nearly became Notime after the master was nicked



So, you’re really excited. You’ve recorded your album and sent it for mastering to Tyler McDiarmid in New York – he works at Geoff & Tyler Recording, the studios responsible for Fred Hersch’s Alone At The Vanguard and Gregory Porter’s Water, both Grammy nominated.

But then, while Tyler is recording out on the road, mixing and mastering as he goes, he gets all his equipment stolen, along with your album files. And you’ve got your tour organised and you’re looking forward to selling nice shiny discs to the fans after the gigs.


But Birmingham-trained alto saxophonist Rachael Cohen is keeping her cool. The digital files of her new Whirlwind Recordings album, Halftime, are winging their way to her and should arrive this very day, and she intends to have it on USB sticks at her gigs. Buy a stick and she’ll replace it with a CD as soon as they are finally available.

So what’s the album all about? Rachael says: “Halftime was named not only because of the style of the music, but I also liked the idea of half-time in a sports game, of pausing for thought and considering your next move.”

What you'll get eventually

What you’ll get eventually

Rachel grew up playing Ravel and Prokofiev on the piano, and then got into jazz and hip hop and soul, as well as the saxophone, of course. Halftime is all original tunes with the exception of Ornette Coleman’s Just For You.

So, who’s in Rachel’s band? Well, Phil Robson is on guitar, quite a scoop for a player only recently arrived in London; her old pal from Tommy Smith’s Scottish jazz orchestras Calum Gourlay is on bass; and her old pal from Birmingham Conservatoire Jim Bashford is on drums.

And where is Rachael playing?

Tomorrow night at Churchills Snooker Club, underground off Stephenson Street in Birmingham city centre, then back in London for the album launch as part of the Whirlwind Festival at King’s Place on Friday, followed by Newcastle upon Tyne (Sunday 13), Edinburgh (Wednesday 16), Glasgow (Thursday 17) and back in Birmingham, this time at the Prince Of Wales (Monday 21).

There’s all this and more on Rachael’s website which is here.

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