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. Zara’s breakthrough 2012 track, a jazz cover of Junior Murvin’s Police and Thieves, provided a jumping off point to further explore the blurred, colourful territory in between jazz and roots-reggae.
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.