Rising British jazz vocalist & songwriter
"Like rising jazz stars Jose James and Gregory Porter, Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings’ artist Zara McFarlane is part of a new generation of young singers bringing a fresh perspective to the vocal jazz game. Her lyrically conscious original songwriting brings to mind Nina Simone and Roberta Flack circa First Take era." (Wax Poetics)
Wednesday, June 18
8pm $18 adv, $20 day of show
Zara McFarlane’s debut album, 2011’s Until Tomorrow, came garlanded with rave reviews and a MOBO award nomination, and heralded a major new talent in the world of British jazz. The just released follow-up, If You Knew Her, also recorded for Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings label, is a more ambitious collection that draws from many more influences: from the deep spiritual jazz of Pharoah Sanders to dub and reggae.
“With the first album,” says Zara, “I was trying to create a cohesive sound, one that used the same line up and the same instrumentation throughout. This time the focus is on the songwriting, and the arrangements are tailor-made to suit each song. There’s a lot more variation – around half of the tracks are duets, and I use more than one band. If there is a unified, cohesive theme, it’s in the lyrics: the songs represent a journey through a woman’s life.”
“I love all areas of this work – the teaching, the performing – but this album showcases what I’m most into at the moment, which is writing,” she says. “These songs on this new album are more personal than anything I’ve ever written. It’s me opening up, taking listeners on a journey.”