REVIEW: Rachael Cohen at the Devonshire Club, EC2

Rachael Cohen (centre) with (L-R) Sam Watts, Joe Downard, Shane Forbes


Rachael Cohen
(Devonshire Club. 17 October 2017. Review by Leah Williams)


The Devonshire Club, a private members’ club in Devonshire Square EC2, offers up a whole host of cultural events within its exclusive walls. The most recent of which is a monthly live jazz residency hosted by Ronnie Scott's and featuring some of the city’s hottest jazz talent.

Last night was the first of these intimate gigs and featured up-and-coming saxophonist, composer and improviser Rachael Cohen. Originally hailing from the Shetland Islands, Cohen is now London-based and has been lighting up stages and making a name for herself in the capital, with her debut album Halftime being highly praised. (Review by Chris Parker)

Last night’s line up also included Sam Watts on piano, Joe Downard on bass and Shane Forbes on drums, and the quartet filled the cosy lounge space with a variety of jazz ranging from ballads to latin to blues, all of them sharing the same smooth and seamless sound.

Rachael introduced the band and commented on how beautiful the space was to play in. The luxurious and comfortable setting was indeed the perfect place to relax and listen attentively to the soft, dulcet tones of Cohen’s playing.

During the two 45-minute sets, Cohen moved between soft and atmospheric to precision virtuosity with ease. Some classic tunes such as One-Note Samba and Lover Man were given a modern and exciting makeover. The band’s interplay was exciting and natural, all musicians showing off their soloing talents to very convincing effect.

The gig ended with two Thelonious Monk tunes, in honour of his recent would-have-been 100th birthday. Watts on piano especially shone in the first In Walked Bud, and the charm and relaxed beauty of Reflections was the perfect way to close the evening.

LINK: Member events at the Devonshire

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