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Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

CATCHING UP WITH

Zara McFarlane: Ancestral Tongues

Read "Zara McFarlane: Ancestral Tongues" reviewed by Serena Antinucci

Songs of An Unknown Tongue is the fourth album by multi-award winning English singer Zara Mcfarlane, released on July 17 on Brownswood Recordings. Three years on from Arise!, also on the Brownswood label, the singer performs a more personal, in-depth exploration of her musical and cultural roots. After a journey in Jamaica, her ancestral motherland, McFarlane opens jazz to the influences of the Caribbean tradition, to ancient rhythms that dialogue with contemporary sounds and beats, in a network that intensifies ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Zara McFarlane: Songs Of An Unknown Tongue

Read "Songs Of An Unknown Tongue" reviewed by Chris May

It takes courage for a musician to depart from a successful recipe to the extent that the British singer and songwriter Zara McFarlane does on Songs of An Unknown Tongue. The disc is not a complete shift from the paradigm of her three previous albums, but it is a radical spin on it. First, what has changed. McFarlane's last album, Arise (Brownswood, 2017) was, like its predecessors, an acoustic set played by a band drawn from McFarlane's ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Zara McFarlane: East Of The River Nile

Read "East Of The River Nile" reviewed by Chris May

As a teaser for her upcoming album, the divine Zara McFarlane has released a 4-track EP revisiting Jamaican dub and rockers wizard Augustus Pablo's canonical 1977 single “East Of The River Nile." McFarlane's disc, on which her wordless vocals stay close to Pablo's original melodica topline, showcases her signature blend of jazz and Caribbean music to transporting and trippy effect (pass the chalice, folks). The track is produced by McFarlane's longtime drummer and collaborator Moses Boyd and arranged by trombonist ...

RADIO

Zara McFarlane Live at BIMHUIS Amsterdam

Read "Zara McFarlane Live at BIMHUIS Amsterdam" reviewed by BIMHUIS

Zara McFarlane is one of the most remarkable rising stars in British soul jazz. The singer from London, who was raised in a Jamaican family, has been compared to Erykah Badu and Cassandra Wilson. She has a pure voice and a unique, contemporary style combining soul, jazz, dub and afro-funk. The intimate vocals of Nina Simone and the enchanting seventies-jazz of Pharoah Sanders are important influences on Zara's songs. On her most recent album, Arise, Zara ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Zara McFarlane: Arise!

Read "Arise!" reviewed by Chris May

Zara McFarlane is a London-based singer and composer with a voice like an angel and a style that reflects her cultural roots in the Caribbean and in the mash-up that is modern metropolitan Britain, where jazz, grime, hip hop, reggae and other musics of black origin are hybridising and shape-shifting with joyful abandon. She is an alumnus of Tomorrow's Warriors, the band and outreach organisation co-founded by bassist Gary Crosby in 1991 with a special focus on young jazz musicians ...

PROFILE

Zara McFarlane: Embodying the Spirit of Jamaica

Read "Zara McFarlane: Embodying the Spirit of Jamaica" reviewed by David Burke

Zara McFarlane may have been made in Britain, but she belongs to Jamaica. The land of her mother and father is written in her soul and vibrates through her music. You can feel it in the bewitching rhythms and hear it in the socio-conscious words—both elements of reggae -that inform her distinctive version of jazz, especially on the critically-lauded collection, Arise. The London-born singer was five years old when she first went to the Caribbean island—a sort of ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Zara McFarlane: Arise

Read "Arise" reviewed by Phil Barnes

Zara McFarlane's If You Knew Her from 2014 promised much, being a wonderful, individual, mixture of jazz, reggae and soul that viewed the singer's Jamaican roots through the prism of her UK birth and London upbringing. It was an original blend that signaled the arrival of a major talent on the UK scene, setting a path that McFarlane has continued to purposefully stride down on this superb follow up. Everything about this collection has been thought through -from ...


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