Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

104

Zoe Rahman: Zoe Rahman: Kindred Spirits

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Zoe Rahman

Kindred Spirits

Manushi Records

2012

Holy soul food, Batman! It feels good to listen to a musician who plays from the heart rather than the brain. Not that British pianist Zoe Rahman is deficient in the grey stuff or technique. She studied music at Oxford University, the Royal Academy of Music and Berklee; once, twice, three times an alumnus. But when Rahman is seated at the keyboard, and her band kicks in, it is her exuberant spirit that she channels, not her learning. That, anyway, is how it sounds.

Kindred Spirits, recorded in spring 2011, is Rahman's fifth album, and like its predecessors it makes the world seem, for a precious while, a better place. Her last disc, Zoe Rahman Trio Live (Manushi, 2009) was recorded in spring 2007. Rahman has since been busy in other people's bands, which may explain why four years passed before she went back into the studio under her own name again.

In the intervening period, Rahman toured extensively with Jerry Dammers' Spatial AKA Orchestra, bringing Sun Ra to a new audience. She also worked with bands led by bassist Danny Thompson, exploring the legacy of British songwriter Nick Drake; singer Martha Wainwright; and saxophonist Courtney Pine, who guests on one track on Kindred Spirits. This diversity of interest is reflected in Rahman's own albums. Where Rivers Meet (Manushi, 2008) celebrated the musical heritage of her father on a dozen tunes written by Bengali composers including Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore.

Along with shots of funk and Irish traditional music, Bengali music is one of the strands that is heard on Kindred Spirits, which includes Tagore's "Forbiddance," "My Heart Dances, Like a Peacock, It Dances" and "Imagination." But, like Zoe Rahman Trio Live before it, Kindred Spirits is fundamentally jazz-based. One difference is that, on the new album, Rahman wrote over half of the tracks.

On Live, Rahman contributed only one tune, with the covers including a pair apiece from Abdullah Ibrahim and JoAnne Brackeen. Ibrahim is a player who readily comes to mind when listening to Rahman, and he does so on Kindred Spirits' opening track, the gospel/funk cross "Down to Earth," and later on "Maya" and "Rise Above." Echoes of Brackeen are heard in the more chromatic "Outside in." Of the covers, in addition to the Tagore tunes, there are versions of the Irish jig "Butlers of Glen Avenue" (wild, wild, wild) and Stevie Wonder's "Contusion," from his Songs in the Key of Life (Motown, 1976).

All these seemingly disparate sources are winningly conflated by Rahman, supported by bassist Oli Hayhurst's and drummer Gene Calderazzo's sinewy swing. Pine, on alto flute, and Rahman's brother, Idris, on clarinet and bass clarinet, are between them heard on five tracks. The group, its core members a unit for over half a decade now, is as tight as you like.

It all adds up to another bliss infusion.

Tracks: Down to Earth; Conversation with Nellie; Maya; Forbiddance/My Heart Dances, Like a Peacock, It Dances; Butlers of Glen Avenue; Outside in; Imagination; Rise Above; Fly in the Ointment: Contusion.

Personnel: Zoe Rahman: piano, harmonium (5); Idris Rahman: clarinet (3-5), bass clarinet (7); Courtney Pine: alto flute (2); Oli Hayhurst: double bass; Gene Calderazzo: drums.

Title: Zoe Rahman: Kindred Spirits | Year Released: 2012


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Strange Days - 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Extended Analysis Strange Days - 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: December 9, 2017
Read Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981 Extended Analysis Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981
by Doug Collette
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Love, Gloom, Cash, Love Extended Analysis Love, Gloom, Cash, Love
by Patrick Burnette
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Motel Shot: Expanded Edition Extended Analysis Motel Shot: Expanded Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: July 16, 2017
Read Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe  Edition Extended Analysis Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th...
by Doug Collette
Published: May 27, 2017
Read "Thelonious Monk: Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960" Extended Analysis Thelonious Monk: Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: April 9, 2017
Read "Procol Harum: Novum" Extended Analysis Procol Harum: Novum
by Doug Collette
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Ella Fitzgerald: 100 Songs For A Centennial" Extended Analysis Ella Fitzgerald: 100 Songs For A Centennial
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: April 29, 2017
Read "Tim Bowness: Lost in the Ghostlight" Extended Analysis Tim Bowness: Lost in the Ghostlight
by John Kelman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Wingfield Reuter Stavi Sirkis: The Stone House" Extended Analysis Wingfield Reuter Stavi Sirkis: The Stone House
by John Kelman
Published: March 4, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!