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AAA Music | 23 April 2024

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| On 09, Nov 2017

Zara McFarlane - Arise

Seductive Mobo Award winning jazz soul singer songwriter Zara McFarlane has strong Caribbean influences that include reggae. Her parents Jamaican heritage had a huge influence on her musical tastes and she’s sometimes compared with Nina Simone and Cassandra Wilson.

Arise, her third solo album, continues the aim of her previous two albums in seeking adventurous new ways of looking at modern jazz. She was helped by her talented team of Moses Boyd (drums and production), Max Luthert (bass), Peter Edwards (piano), Binker Golding (tenor) , Nathaniel Cross (trombone) and Shabaka Hutchings (bass clarinet).

The vibrant African chant ‘Ode To Kumina’ opens the album followed by a powerful and intricate drive in ‘Pride’ , the moody and inspiring ‘Fussin’ And Fightin’  and a rhythmically charged cover of ‘Peace Begins Within’, the Nora Dean number.

‘Freedom Chain’ is gently enchanting , whilst ‘Allies or Enemies’ has a simple backing with an acoustic guitar and the intimate and melancholic solo ‘Silhouette’ provides almost four minutes with Shabaka Hutchings on bass clarinet.

These are songs that are extremely moving, touch upon vulnerability and feel both refreshing and intriguing. Collectively, it’s a charming, classy and dynamic album by Zara McFarlane: soul jazz with a rich, earthy and very individual style.

Anthony Weightman

Review Overview

Anthony Weightman

Very Good

Soul jazz with a rich, earthy and very individual style.