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Zara McFarlane, If You Knew Her (Brownswood Recordings)




Zara McFarlane, If You Knew Her (Brownswood Recordings)
Album Review

01/09/14
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



 Bold overtures color the second album from this occasionally fascinating Briton, who released her debut LP Until Tomorrow in 2011. This is all jazz-centric as the crow flies, but not all of it is by-the-book, especially when she makes weird bird noises in the otherwise dinner-jazz “Ay Ay Ay Ay” and explores her deepest African roots in intro track “Open Heart,” which she colors in quiet, sleepy Roberta Flack chill tones until the steel-drum-emulated melodies chime in, at which point she demonstrates that she takes her spirituality a lot more seriously than she does jazz wonking. It’s a refreshing thing to hear, especially with the never-ending glut of po-faced Ella wannabes drily reciting Gershwin as if there’s an exam tomorrow. But you know all that, I’m sure, and meanwhile, no, she doesn’t stomp tradition into the ground (there’s a cover of Kitty White’s “Plain Gold Ring” nestled within all the original stuff). A- — Eric W. Saeger


As seen in the January 9th, 2014 issue of The Hippo







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