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Where Rivers Meet

Artist: Zoe Rahman

Date of Release: 22/09/2008

Catalogue no: 1541

Label: MANUSHI RECORDS

Price: £12.99

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Where Rivers Meet is a collaboration with Zoe's brother, clarinettist, Idris Rahman on some unique, jazz-inspired interpretations of Bengali music, including the songs of Rabindranath Tagore, Abbasuddin and Hemanta Kumar Mukherjee amongst others.

Much acclaimed for her formidable technical ability and exuberant performance, pianist Rahman is joined on the album by her brother and regular trio partners, the spectacularly innovative drummer Gene Calderazzo and sensitive but rhythmic bassist Oli Hayhurst. Appearing alongside them is an exciting array of guest artists that includes Bengali vocal star Arnob, vibrant percussionist and tabla player Kuljit Bhamra and the stunningly talented violinist Samy Bishai.

Neither strictly speaking jazz nor world-music, the Rahmans' original take on Bengali popular music offers up a unique new form of Anglo-Asian music: beautiful improvised music that is utterly compelling in its brilliant meeting of musical worlds.

"a collection of Bengali songs that we heard through our father, cousins, aunties and friends. We wanted to learn about our family heritage by delving into this rich musical source and hope that in the process the songs will be seen in a new light by those who already know them. Perhaps they will take others on a journey of discovery similar to the one we have experienced through making this album"

 

Reviews

 

22/09/2008 Peter Bacon

5-star review by Peter Bacon: www.thejazzbreakfast.wordpress.com
"Having first heard some of this music in concert at the mac in December last year, and been bowled over by it, my expectations of this album were dangerously high. Remarkably, it has exceeded them.
Try track six, Now You're Gone, and listen to Jasim Uddin's deeply romantic melody line soar, fall, turn and rise again over just over two and a half minutes. The sinuous line is so sensitively articulated by Idris's clarinet, while Zoe's piano accompaniment is as lush as a reed bed, as delicately coloured as a tropical water landscape viewed through warm mist.
It's not all calm and contemplative. On Suddenly It's Dusk Again Gene Calderazzo gets the drums pushing hard, Zoe digs deep for some piano thunder and Idris blows hard too to get a lovely gritty tone from his clarinet.
The guest singers and Samy Bishai on violin bring added texture and colour over 12 tracks that are all equally satisfying in different ways, and most of which explore the sublime.
It's hard to remain objective - this is music you don't so much assess and analyse as simply fall in love with."

 

22/09/2008 Jon Mitchell, Songlines

Song-lines Magazine: 4-star review by Jon Mitchell
Title: Bengali favourites beautifully captured.
"Soothsayers, Idris Rahman's band, has featured his sister and pianist Zoe Rahman before, but this is their first full album together and it proves to be a delight from start to finish. Beautifully produced, with very little reverb, it's a recording that sits very close to you, and features some wonderful playing and incredible vocals.
Since recording a one-off Bengali track on her 2005 album Melting Pot, Zoe has further explored her Bengali roots through learning the songs her father sang to them, from musicians in London and Bangladesh. Most of the tracks here were made famous by the 50s singer Hemant Kumar in Bombay films.
The 12 contemporary jazz tunes benefit from members of Zoe's regular trio - drummer Gene Calderazzo and bassist Oli Hayhurst - while Idris' rich clarinet and flute perfectly complements tablas and violin. The lush but simple textures ensure a tender and refined mood throughout. But it's the vocals of guest singer, Bengali star Arnob, which stand out the most for their expression and tone, as heard on 'Betrayed' and 'Stream Of Joy'. Led by an exceptionally warm and clear Steinway piano, his voice is simply beautiful.
Listening to the tabla echoing the sound of rain drops in 'You Came Like Welcome Rain' highlights the imagination and attention to detail the two siblings have brought to a work they clearly feel passionate about. This is an elegant record full of clarity and expression."

 

21/09/2008 Phil Johnson, Independent on Sunday

Phil Johnson, Independent on Sunday, 21 September 2008
"Inspired by their father's songs of his native Bengal and the poetry of Tagore, siblings Zoe (piano) and Idris (clarinets and flute) Rahman have produced a marvellously rich and evocative suite whose exotic colours derive as much from Tyner and Coltrane as they do from India.
With the basic duo augmented by Kuljit Bhamra's percussion, Samy Bishai's violin plus occasional jazz rhythm section and guest vocalists, the music passes through a wealth of modes, from Gypsy or Balkan-sounding dance forms to the most fragile of laments. It ends with a Bengali version of Auld Lang Syne."
Pick of the Album: 'Betrayed': beautiful ballad featuring guest vocalist Arnob

 

14/09/2008 Clive Davis, Sunday Times

Sunday Times, Clive Davis, 14th September 2008:
"Slowly but surely, a wholly original brand of Anglo-Asian music is taking root. While the pianist Zoe Rahman has shown she can cover all the bop bases when the occasion requires, there's a much more lyrical quality to this collaboration with her clarinetist brother. Inspired by their father's passion for traditional Bengali melodies, the project combines settings of texts by the likes of Tagore (translated by poet William Radice) with gentle, folksy arrangements for the band that includes the jazz drummer Gene Calderazzo and the percussionist Kuljit Bhamra. Some pieces veer in the direction of new-age musings, yet there is enough individuality here to suggest that the siblings are on the right path."

 

01/09/2008 Ken Hunt, Jazzwise

Four-star review, Ken Hunt, Jazzwise "Even though it is also one of the more precarious occupations or professions, no matter what anyone tells you, the full-time music-writer's life is the best on the planet. Still, every so often I would see Zoe Rahman's name on posters and wonder what she sounded like. I wish I had trusted my bat radar, followed my instincts and made an effort to listen to her before Where Rivers Meet. It taps into Anglo-Bengali or Anglo-Bangladeshi culture as natural as breathing. Zoe Rahman's piano has its modal moments but rarely ventures into pianistic raga territory. 'Betrayed' ('Amar har kala korlam re') spotlights her piano playing - block chords and lower-end keyboard underpinnings of the vocal - in its story-telling finest. Then you hear the interplay on a track such as 'We'll surely meet again' and you know instinctively that you are in the opposite of sibling rival territory. This may sound heretical but Where Rivers Meet is one of those albums where you just float off and don't notice the music because you're too busy enjoying the ride. That is not damning with faint praise: that is highest praise."

 

01/09/2008 Ken Hunt, Jazzwise

'Waters Run Deep' article in Jazzwise, September 2008, by Ken Hunt.
"The thing that has to be stressed is that while the source material is profoundly Bengali, Where Rivers Meet is profoundly jazz in orientation. And the concluding Tagore composition 'Do You Wish To Forget' ('Purano sei') - with its feints at 'Auld Lang Syne' - is just a perfect bridge between cultures. One of the most inspiring and inspirational personal turn-ons of 2008 has been discovering the Rahman siblings, whether Idris Rahman playing with Arun Ghosh or exploring Zoe Rahman's back-catalogue. Not everybody gets to board the train at the first station. Zoe Rahman's music and musicianship eluded me before Where Rivers Meet and now I cannot imagine my soundscape without her pianistic insights on and into life. Save future blushes and get aboard the train sooner rather than later. There are worlds I know I have yet to discover in Where Rivers Meet. There is no higher praise."

 

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