Zoe Rahman: Colour Of Sound

The pianist draws on hard bop and modal styles among others in a band including Rowland Sutherland, Alec Dankworth and Gene Calderazzo


I don’t recall ever hearing a Zoe Rahman recording or live performance that wasn’t completely fascinating in its rich and well-integrated mixture of idioms and influences drawn from, amongst other sources, her paternal Bengali heritage, maternal Irish tradition and classical experience. I still haven’t.

This session, bringing together different generations, genders and nationalities, is full of variety, performed with conviction and imagination by all members of the group.

Rahman wrote all the pieces on the album and leads by example in exploring their possibilities. Her playing exhibits a poised sense of control, from the rumbling “heads up” opening of Dance Of Time, which relaxes into a sprightly theme, to the ominous, mysterious Roots, which develops and builds in intensity: it’s a trio piece that particularly showcases the strength of interaction between Rahman’s hands individually and as a pair with Dankworth and Calderazzo, but that control doesn’t preclude passages of exuberance and joy heard on other tracks.

I’ve always found brother Idris’s playing enjoyable and intriguing, and his contributions here don’t disappoint, but everyone plays faultlessly, whether in solos or ensembles. As Rahman herself has said, she needs colleagues who can understand the complexities of her music as well as connecting emotionally with the listener, and she has chosen well here.

Dance Of Time; For Love*; Little Ones; Sweet Jasmine**; Go With the Flow*; Roots; Unity*; Peace Garden (47.56)
Alex Ridout (t, flh)*; Byron Wallen (t)**; Rosie Turton (tb); Rowland Sutherland (f); Idris Rahman (cl, as, ts); Zoe Rahman (p); Alec Dankworth (b); Gene Calderazzo (d). London, c. 2023.
Manushi Records MANUCD007