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Rachel Z: Sensual

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Rachel Z: Sensual
Whatever her impetus—be it the loss of her parents or peans to a shared sense of hearth, home and heaven—pianist/composer Rachel Z's thirteenth full length album, Sensual, bares a sincere, hopeful humanity.

Buoyed by a sense of survival, Sensual opens as if it were a letter, closing with the Foo Fighters' crotch-kick raise-the-roof-'n-rile-'em-up "These Days." Sensual pulls one in fast and fully with the keenly seductive opener, "Save My Soul." It dances. It stirs.

Z, whose sense of bombast has its detractors (but then again don't we all?), keeps it under wraps until "These Days," flooding the room with melodious song. "Bodhisattva" is cut from the same three-card monte that certified Wayne Shorter a genius. "Forgive Me" moves much like Peter Gabriel, soothing the common sorrow with the luxury of song. Both tracks hail and celebrate, slipping and sliding over and under, around and between their regal five and four-minute expanses.

Partnered with the people she knows best—drummer/life partner Omar Hakim, bassist Mark Penman (Joshua Redman, Kurt Rosenwinkel) and percussionist Mino Cinelu (Miles Davis, Sting)—the pianist holds her vision strong. "What I Fear" proves that ace is high. Starting as a hint of an anthem, Z, Hakim and Penman barter and shake. The tune grows exponentially. Z bounds across the rhythmic highlands. The tune never tires. Half Steely Dan and half Leonard Bernstein, "What About the Kids" is a real treat for the ears and the heart. Guest bassist Tony Levin's loping adventure centers the title track. Beautiful but predictable, "Inamorata Enamorata" may hide its hot striding moments beside an all-too-easy shimmy of samba innuendo, but it is a momentary blip in the audio bliss, because Sensual sounds like and is something grand from start to finish.

Track Listing

Save My Soul; What I Fear; Bodhisattva; Forgive Me; What About the Kids; Inamorata; Shepard’s Lullaby; Sensual; These Days.

Personnel

Album information

Title: Sensual | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Dot Time Records


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