MENU Zara McFarlane // New album Arise announced

Zara McFarlane // New album Arise announced

July 26, 2017

On Arise, Zara McFarlane returns to a buoyant UK jazz scene with a head-turning third album. Exploring the musical possibilities of British-Jamaican identity, it’s a cultural exchange that’s born of London’s current musical climate. Released on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings, it sees her working with much-feted drummer and producer Moses Boyd. Both rose through London’s Tomorrow’s Warriors programme, a finishing school for many young vanguards of the live, ascendant jazz scene springing up across the UK capital. Sharing Caribbean family heritages, it’s a product of their joint exploration of the meeting points between jazz and the rhythms of Jamaica; reggae, Kumina, calypso and nyabinghi, shaded with hints of the psychedelic.

Alongside drummer Moses Boyd on production, the album features a stellar line up of some of the key players on the London scene: Binker Golding on tenor sax, Peter Edwards on piano, Shirley Tetteh on guitar, Nathaniel Cross on trombone and an unusually restrained turn on clarinet from Shabaka Hutchings. Shared between all of them is a tendency to find the common points between different musical ilks: from US hard bop jazz, to dub and London-rooted hybrids and permutations, the band on Arise reflect the musical diversity of their home. Boosted by new platforms, like East London showcase Church of Sound and a newly-refreshed Jazz Café, the record surfs the momentum currently propelling jazz-influenced music in the UK.

For Zara, Jamaica’s musical legacy is deeply intertwined with her sense of the place itself. Spending whole summers in the hills of Jamaica, it’s the sounds and smells which she most vividly associates with her stays there. In particular the local sound systems which were an everyday feature of the local area; be it in shops or bars, each of the small local shacks would have a sound system where they’d play music through the day and evening.

“From where my nan used to live in Cauldwell, there’s a sound system almost opposite her house,” she says. “So you feel this boom of the bass, and then all the smells of the hills and the greenery of Hanover. When you land in Jamaica and you go to walk off of the plane, the heat and the smells hit you and it feels like home away from home for me. When I hear Jamaican music, these are the senses that come.”

Listen to single ‘Fussin and Fightin’ here.

The album is released on the 29th September. Pre-order from various outlets here.