Emma Rawicz: Chroma

The Devon-born saxophonist again demonstrates her outstanding virtuosity and expression, this time over slightly more abstract backgrounds


As if Emma Rawicz’s 2022 album Incantation wasn’t enough to signal the arrival of a major new British jazz talent, it has been rapidly followed by the equally impressive Chroma. Already, you can hear the musical development between these two albums, a willingness to explore new sound palettes and, equally important, the use of space between the notes to layer the sound and give even more mood and atmosphere.

Winner of several awards and playing with quality artists such as the Marcin Wasilewski Trio in a tribute to Tomasz Stanko, Rawicz is clearly going places. Chroma – colour or paint in Greek – is a highly appropriate name for an album that explores sound through the medium of the colour palette.

Some of the colours named in the tracks are more likely to feature in the exotic Farrow & Ball paint catalogue – no beige or magnolia music to be found here. The album opens with the blistering, bright Phlox, with interesting use of vocals to kick start things before the rest of the band piles in. The phrasing is tight, controlled, like a funky military march as it builds towards a punchy finish.

Rawicz impresses as much as a composer as she does performer and band leader. Middle Ground sounds like the sort of track that would kick off the second set in a moody, intimate jazz club. Her playing is assured, thoughtful and it sounds like she has been doing this for years such is the confidence evident throughout the album.

As part of a group of very accomplished musicians and using vocals from Immy Churchill and Asaf Sirkis to layer the sound of her tenor saxophone, Rawicz has produced a hugely impressive second album.

Phlox; Xanadu I; Rangwali: Xanadu II; Middle Ground; Xanadu III; Viridian; Falu (43.26)
Rawicz (ts, f, bcl); Ivo Neame (p); Ant Law (g); Conor Chaplin (b, elb); Asaf Sirkis (d, v); Immy Churchill (v). London, June 2022.
ACT 9973-2