All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

4

Zara McFarlane: If You Knew Her

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
On her full-length follow up to 2010's EP Until Tomorrow, London-based singer Zara McFarlane perfects her blend of austere instrumentation and mantra-like rhythms supporting her rich and warm voice that owe more to Mongo Santamaria than reputedly Nina Simone or Roberta Flack. An album centerpiece, "Woman in the Olive Groves" undulates like "Afro Blue" while being able to act as its logical prelude. Backed by a traditional rhythm trio, McFarlane fulfills the potential of her subtle and muscular voice which sets perfectly against Brinker Golding's obtuse and probing tenor saxophone solo. Pianist Peter Edwards sinks McCoy Tyner chords into the ground like tent poles erected for elemental cover. It is this brief and honest instrumental and vocal simplicity that McFarlane, in her compositions, brings to this modern amalgam of jazz and soul.

McFarlane's voice swells to the challenge of sparse instrumentation. She capitalizes on the music's pulse, that necessary element propelling this collection of sweetly opaque songs forward. On "Move" McFarlane sings of motion and strength among uncertainty, motion provided by the shimmer of Edwards' right melodic hand tacked down by his precise left. The sole non-original composition is Junior Murvin's 1977 "Police & Thieves," later covered by the Clash. McFarlane takes the song far afield of Murvin's original Jah-happy rebellion and the Clash's boiling mercury version into the blended jazz-soul terrain of 21st Century London. A gentle heart is Zara McFarlane's, one that burns in a low smolder of creation.

Track Listing: Open Heart; Her Eyes; Move; You’ll Get Me In Trouble; Police & Thieves; Spinning Wheel; Plain Gold Ring; Angie La La; The Games We Played; Woman in the Olive Groves; Love.

Personnel: Zara McFarlane: vocals (all), piano (6), guitar (4); Peter Edwards: piano (2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 11); Gavin Barras: Bass (1, 8); Max Luthert: bass (2, 3, 5, 7, 10); Moses Boyd: drums (3, ; Andy Chapman: drums (2, 10); Taz Modi: drums (8); Binker Golding: tenor saxophone (10); Leron Thomas: trumpet (8); Rachel Gladwin: harp (8).

Title: If You Knew Her | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Brownswood Recordings

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Radio
CD/LP/Track Review
Profiles
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Arise!

Arise!

Brownswood Recordings
2017

buy
Arise

Arise

Brownswood Recordings
2017

buy
If You Knew Her

If You Knew Her

Brownswood Recordings
2014

buy
 

Angie La La (Yoruba...

Brownswood Recordings
2013

buy
 

More Than Mine

Brownswood Recordings
2012

buy
Until Tomorrow

Until Tomorrow

Brownswood Recordings
2011

buy

Related Articles

Read Dreams And Other Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Dreams And Other Stories
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2018
Read The Nook CD/LP/Track Review
The Nook
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2018
Read Julius Eastman - Piano Interpretations CD/LP/Track Review
Julius Eastman - Piano Interpretations
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 22, 2018
Read Moments Before CD/LP/Track Review
Moments Before
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 22, 2018
Read From The Vault: No Security, San Jose '99 (2CD + SD Blu Ray) CD/LP/Track Review
From The Vault: No Security, San Jose '99 (2CD + SD...
by John Kelman
Published: September 22, 2018
Read with whom you can be who you are CD/LP/Track Review
with whom you can be who you are
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 21, 2018
Read "Mønk" CD/LP/Track Review Mønk
by Chris May
Published: September 20, 2018
Read "Tomeka Reid Quartet" CD/LP/Track Review Tomeka Reid Quartet
by Patrick Burnette
Published: September 28, 2017
Read "Blue Light" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Light
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: October 14, 2017
Read "The Chopin Project" CD/LP/Track Review The Chopin Project
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 13, 2018
Read "Disconnected" CD/LP/Track Review Disconnected
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 3, 2017
Read "Transcendence" CD/LP/Track Review Transcendence
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 27, 2018