The Cynic

COMPOSERS: Zoe Rahman
LABELS: Manushi Manucd
ALBUM TITLE: Zoe Rahman
PERFORMER: Zoe Rahman (p), Jeremy Brown (db), Winston Clifford (d)
CATALOGUE NO: 001 (distr. Manushi Records, PO Box 33524, London E2 9YA; manushi@zoerahmen.com)

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The Cynic, young British pianist Zoe Rahman’s debut trio album, is a remarkable achievement, because it seems that she already has her own sound and style. Bassist Jeremy Brown and drummer Winston Clifford are superlative musicians and although Rahman deploys them in the conventional rhythm-section manner, she devises different ways of interplay and creating light and shade.

She wrote all seven compositions and they are excellent, developing in highly original ways; it’s not just the chords and melodies that move, but the time signatures and textures also shift and there is much tricky asymmetry which she and the rhythm section handle superbly.

The opening ‘October’ begins with a melodic bass riff in 12/8 which evolves slowly and over which Rahman plays the gentle theme, then solos with the utmost urgency. ‘Apple Pie’ has a dark, intense underlying rhythm, an eloquent bass solo and some brilliant piano with massive chording followed by a drum solo over the rhythm.

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‘Monica’ is a lovely ballad with gorgeous harmonies reminiscent of Keith Jarrett, and marvellous piano-playing with beautiful touch and tone. ‘The Cynic’ is an angular, sardonic, intensely rhythmic piece with great drums and muscular piano. It’s a superb debut.