Zoe Rahman: Dreamland

The pianist's 2015 download album, touching McCoy Tyner, Abdullah Ibrahim, Jessica Williams and more, is reissued on CD


Pianist Zoe Rahman might like to know that her all-conquering 2015 solo album Dreamland sounds better in its reissued CD format than it did when first released as a download.

That’s my view and I have the auditory equivalent of 20-20 vision. Maybe it’s been offered again because her last album, The Colour Of Sound (reviewed here by Barry Witherden), was so highly thought of that its admirers deserved a reminder-cum-treat of what she was doing eight years ago on her own.

There’s nothing of the reverie about Dreamland, unless Fast Asleep, one of its 10 originals, is included and even that incorporates the domain of the album’s title, being ever restless and alert. She travels the length and breadth of the keyboard with motor energy, combining her own resourcefulness within the realm of pianistic possibility. She does tumult and tenderness, exploration and evocation.

She hops and scurries across the keys in Red Squirrel (shades of McCoy Tyner), pays homage to Jessica Williams (The Sheikh) and Abdullah Ibrahim (Sunset In Blue), teases These Foolish Things with insouciant cheek, subverts honky-tonk (the sub-Boogie Zantastic), and everywhere fills the air with splashing chords, fibrous bass lines and clearly delineated scene-painting.

The album is eclectic in the best sense of the description; but, above all, Rahman makes everything sound as though it’s being minted on the hoof and without the false trails and dead ends that the exercise sometimes cannot avoid.

Red Squirrel; Fast Asleep; The Sheikh; Kar Milono Chao Birohi; Zantastic; The Epicentre; These Foolish Things; J’Berg; Crystal Clear; The Calling; A Single Petal Of A Rose; Sunset In Blue; On The Road; For Anais (50.13)
Rahman (p). London, 26 October 2015.
Manushi Records MANUCD006