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Zara McFarlane

Zara McFarlane

Events - Live

Zara McFarlane

29 Nov 2012

The Space, 7.45pm

£9 in advance or £12 on the door.

Advance tickets still available from Nottingham Contemporary's reception.

Zara McFarlane, a rising star on the UK jazz/soul scene, has been nominated for Best Jazz Act in the MOBO's.  

Zara released her debut album on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings in October 2011. Positioned neatly between the twin worlds of modern jazz and eclectic nu-soul, Until Tomorrow confirmed the presence of a very special young voice on the UK scene. Exuding a liberal dose of subtle, stealthy swing, the album was rooted in the jazz tradition. However, Zara has brought an eminently soul undercurrent to what she does, and her music will appeal to audiences weaned on Jill Scott and Erykah Badu as easily as to those more attuned to Cassandra Wilson or Dianne Reeves.

In recent times Zara has supported Hugh Masekela; toured Europe including Jazz Middelheim and Elbjazz festivals; duetted with Gregory Porter; dropped a spectacular cover version of Junior Murvin’s classic jam Police & Thieves and performed live on French radio station – Radio Nova – as part of a special broadcast of London acts. Zara played in London to a spellbound sell out crowd on the 9th of October, where she dropped some of her new material as well as songs from the first album.

Anybody keeping an eye on the ongoing development of the British jazz scene will have noticed Zara McFarlane in the last few years. The 28 year-old London vocalist has made a string of impressive appearances with musicians who do no choose their collaborators without careful consideration – Denys Baptiste, Orphy Robinson, Soweto Kinch and Jazz Jamaica All Stars to name but some.

McFarlane’s appearance on the latter’s 2006 Motown-themed album Motor City Roots revealed a singer whose power was offset by delicacy, as was clear from her sensitive handling of Stevie Wonder’s My Cherie Amour. All of these experiences have furthered the growth of Zara McFarlane as an artist in the most complete sense of the term and the singer made good on her potential when she issued her self-produced EP, Until Tomorrow in 2010. The 6 track mini-album was evenly split between original compositions such as Captured and standards like the perennial jazz favourite On Green Dolphin Street.

There was enormous poise in the way that McFarlane handled the melodic line and chord changes of a piece but what was arguably as impressive was the fact that she asserted herself as a thoughtful lyric writer. Now that EP has evolved into a full-length album, Until Tomorrow, and it marks Zara McFarlane’s debut for Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings. The arrangements for Until Tomorrow have a liberal dose of subtle, stealthy swing, yet as steeped as Zara McFarlane is in the jazz tradition, she has brought an eminently soul undercurrent to what she does, and it is entirely possible that she could appeal to audiences weaned as much on Jill Scott and Erykah Badu as Cassandra Wilson and Dianne Reeves. Blessed with a fine voice and a strength of character that has led her towards thought-provoking, if not challenging lyrics, Zara McFarlane has with Until Tomorrow taken a giant step down the road to what is surely a long, illustrious career.




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