Zoe Rahman’s latest album, Colour of Sound, is a bold and impressive work that showcases her exceptional skills as a pianist and composer. This CD review by Mike Collins on Manushi Records (MANUCD007) explores the different facets of Rahman’s musical talents and the contributions made by her fellow musicians.
A Diverse and Creative Ensemble
Rahman’s prowess shines throughout the album, backed by a versatile and inventive group of musicians. With eight original compositions, the album features engaging motifs and intricate arrangements that reveal more depth and complexity with each listen. The band includes Gene Calderazzo on drums, Alec Dankworth on bass, Rowland Sutherland on flute, Idris Rahman on sax and clarinet, Alex Ridout on trumpet, and Rosie Turton on trombone.
Dance of Time
The album’s opening track, Dance of Time, is driven by a rhythmic, funky piano riff and a dynamic performance by the band. Sutherland’s flute cuts through the mix, while Rahman’s left hand evokes the legendary McCoy Tyner. The musicians effortlessly ride the waves of rhythm, delivering exhilarating solos.
The second track, For Love, introduces Idris Rahman on saxophone. This composition showcases a captivating exchange between a pulsing rhythm section and a more urgent, swinging section. Ridout’s trumpet and Turton’s trombone enhance the phrasing, while the saxophone and piano solos push the band to an exuberant climax.
Exploring Different Moods and Textures
The other tracks on the album further demonstrate Rahman’s ability to create diverse sonic landscapes.
Little Ones offers a more introspective experience, featuring Idris Rahman on clarinet weaving through dark, rich harmonies.
Sweet Jasmine presents an irresistibly catchy vibe, with Calderazzo hinting at a second-line groove. Rahman’s arrangement technique bounces phrases around the band, crafting sinuous and edgy hooks. Guest trumpeter Byron Wallen elevates the energy with a fluid solo.
Go with the Flow
This track exhibits a rolling momentum and features electrifying solos by Dankworth and Ridout on flugelhorn.
Roots distills the album’s complexity and angular lyricism into a captivating trio piece.
The ensemble on Unity creates the impression of a full orchestra. Rahman’s arrangement develops a charming melodic phrase into unexpected shapes, culminating in a fluid piano solo over a lively samba-esque groove.
The album concludes with Peace Garden, a dreamy and meditative trio piece.
Zoe Rahman has earned numerous accolades and nominations throughout her decades-long career, and Colour of Sound reaffirms her status as a top-tier artist. This record stands out as a rich, nuanced, and compelling musical statement among this year’s releases.