Gifted young jazz vocalist and songwriter Zara McFarlane will drop her second album, titled If You Knew Her, on January 20, 2014, via Brownswood Recordings.
The album – which we’ve heard and it’s a killer – is her long awaited follow-up to the much praised Until Tomorrow. Eight of the 11 songs are originals, which, says Zara, “collectively explore emotive stories of beauty, passion, love, vulnerability, empathy, boldness, directness and sensuality. Inspired by the many vibrant, amazing, charismatic black women in my life, it’s an album that celebrates the strength of women, from the alpha female to the housewife.”
Aside from her own compositions, the album includes some unexpected covers including a haunting jazz resurrection of Police and Thieves, the Junior Murvin classic. Released with an accompanying video to celebrate 50 years of Jamaican independence, it became an immediate fan-favorite and radio-choice, notching up over 37,000 views on YouTube.
Nina Simone’s Plain Gold Ring also gets an adventurous reworking, as does the lesser known cult classic from Jamaican singer Nora Dean, Angie La La featuring NYC’s Leron Thomas on trumpet and vocals – the album’s first single.
Instrumental support on the album is impressive: Peter Edwards (piano) Gavin Barras and Max Luthert (double bass), Andy Chapman, Moses Boyd and Luke Flowers (drums), Rachel Gladwin (harp), with guests Manu Delago (hang), Binker Golding (Tnr Sax) and Leron Thomas (Trumpet/vocals).
Angie La La feat. Leron Thomas is released digitally, on November 25th.
Zara will open for Dianne Reeves at the EFG London Jazz Festival on November 20 Queen Elizabeth Hall
Tickets: 0844 875 0073 / www.southbankcentre.co.uk
She’s on tour in February too. Dates so far announced are:
February 7 Cardiff, RWCMD; Feb 8 Bristol, Colston Hall; Feb 12 London, XOYO; Feb 18 Manchester, Band on the Wall; Feb 20 Gateshead, The Sage.
More shows to follow.