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ALBUM REVIEWS

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 REVIEWS

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 ...

PROFILES

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 REVIEWS

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Zara McFarlane: If You Knew Her

Read "If You Knew Her" reviewed by Phil Barnes

In the current short term, fast buck, major label A&R climate Brownswood stand out like a beacon for the way that they back and develop their artists. Perhaps the different ethos comes from the top, Gilles Peterson is the label boss after all, but in any event less sensitive hands might not have allowed a talent as great as Zara McFarlane to develop after her promising, solid, yet not especially high selling debut Until Tomorrow from 2011. Peterson's ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Zara McFarlane: If You Knew Her

Read "If You Knew Her" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Zara McFarlane: Until Tomorrow

Read "Until Tomorrow" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

Until Tomorrow, from young London-based singer and writer Zara McFarlane, is a delight. This is not McFarlane's first recording--her 2010 self-produced six-track EP, also called Until Tomorrow, debuted some of these songs, and she has also recorded with the Jazz Jamaica All Stars--but it's her first full-length album. Filled with fresh and beautifully crafted compositions, it signals McFarlane's maturing talents as a singer and songwriter with a distinctive take on the art of the song. McFarlane is ...


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