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Kindred Spirits.

Artist: Zoe Rahman

Date of Release: 23/01/2012

Catalogue no: 2033

Label: Manushi Records

Price: £11.99

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Track Listing

No

 

Title

Duration

1

 

Down to Earth

6.24

2

 

Conversation with Nellie

5.31

3

 

Maya

6.24

4

 

Forbiddance (Mana Na Manili)/My Heart Dances, like a Peacock, It Dances (Hridoy Amar Nache Re)

8.24

5

 

Butlers of Glen Avenue

2.25

6

 

Outside In

5.02

7

 

Imagination (Hridoy Amar Prokash Holo)

3.06

8

 

Rise Above

4.31

9

 

Fly In The Ointment

5.26

10

 

Contusion

3.48

 

 

 

 

 

Reviews

 

26/01/2012 Chris May, allaboutjazz.com

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.

 

22/01/2012 Chris Parker, The London Jazz Site

Since establishing herself as one of the UK jazz scene's most talented pianists in 2005 with her Mercury-nominated album Melting Pot, Zoe Rahman has steadily consolidated her reputation with a trio (plus guest Idris Rahman) recording from London's Pizza Express (Live, 2007) and a jazz/Bengali music fusion album, Where Rivers Meet.


Kindred Spirits draws on all the musical influences, from straightahead jazz (she cut her teeth in Clark Tracey's 2000s band) to the music she hears when visiting her family in Dhaka, that informed these albums, but adds another strand: Irish traditional music, experienced on Rahman's recent tour of the country that was her maternal grandmother's home.

Add the inspiration drawn from the 150th anniversary of Bengal's most celebrated writer/musician and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, and you have an absorbingly multi-faceted set, beginning with the tumultuously robust 'Down to Earth', in which Rahman strikes sparks off her fiercely interactive rhythm section, bassist Oli Hayhurst and drummer Gene Calderazzo, and concluding with a characteristically irresistible Stevie Wonder tune, 'Contusion' but, in between, touching bases ranging from Tagore compositions featuring brother Idris's clarinets, Irish folk ('Butlers of Glen Avenue') and even the odd burst of free music ('Outside In'). Rahman, though, is very much her prodigiously gifted self throughout, whether throwing off alternately sparkling and thunderous runs, merging more delicately with her brother or guest Courtney Pine's playing on less overtly jazz-based material, or spinning compelling piano-trio jazz from her own infectiously lively compositions.

A rich confection of what Rahman simply describes as 'tunes that I love playing', Kindred Spirits provides what liner-note writer Julian Joseph accurately terms 'a powerful and fresh portrait of her combined English, Irish and Bengali heritage'.

 

16/01/2012 Robert Shore, Metro

If Zoe Rahman’s 2001 debut, The Cynic, announced the arrival of a major new talent on the jazz scene, her fifth album, Kindred Spirits (Manushi), shows how far the Mercury- nominated musician has matured in the intervening decade. From the bluesy riffing of Down To Earth to the closing cover of Stevie Wonder’s Contusion, this is a work of breathtaking musical imagination that sees the Chichester-born pianist (pictured) exploring her cultural roots via such diverse material as the traditional Irish tune Butlers Of Glen Avenue and compositions by the celebrated Bengali musician/writer Rabindranath Tagore.

 

01/12/2011 Stuart Nicholson, Jazzwise Magazine

ZOE RAHMAN’S “KINDRED SPIRITS”: 4-STAR ALBUM REVIEW

Manushi Records MANUCD005 Zoe Rahman (p), Idris Rahman (clt; b-clt), Courtney Pine (fl), Oli Hayhurst (b), and Gene Calderazzo (d). Rec. 2011

".....could well be seen in the future as one of the best British jazz albums of this period"

 

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