Zoe Rahman Quartet
17 Shaw Street, L3
Saturday 4th February 2012
Live Music Review by
On the news it was heralding snow for the nation but at Liverpool's Capstone
Theatre it was as warming as ever. My usual weather related stories associated
with visits to this excellent venue aside tonight was the turn of the
Zoe Rahman Quartet to grace the state of the art auditorium.
Having performed here previously with the ever cheerful Courtney Pine
last year Rahman's return in her own right was to a deservedly packed
house. Just after seven-thirty the lights dimmed and the Quartet came
to stage to a rapturous applause. Launching straight into opener Cherry,
originally performed by Abdullah Ibrahim, the pensive keys from Rahman
were gradually augmented by drum and standing bass and the up tempo, virtuoso
playing instantly blew away the quiet vibes that began the show.
Next came some tracks from her fifth album Kindred Spirits all of which
were excellent examples of percussive, almost improvisational jazz steeped
in both modern and classical traditions. Idris Rahman joined them from
the third song of the set for a slower song ('It's a ballad...we're going
to calm things down a bit!') and his clarinet soloing was impressive,
reminding you of a quiet evening spent only with yourself in its lilting
Next is a trio of songs performed as a continuous suite that celebrated
the family heritage of the Rahman's. Irish jig melodies mixed with Bengali
sounds and the sense of going on a journey was present and correct. The
family theme continued on Conversations With Nelly where Idris Rahman's
clarinet was as mellow as it could possibly be and Zoe's piano playing
resembled raindrops falling from the sky in it's intimacy.
Following the interlude the mood became more playful with a cover of
Stevie Wonder's instrumental Contusion , an aurally humourous piece apparently
inspired by a trip to Sweden entitled 'Red Squirrel' and some requests
taken during the interlude. An encore in the form of an almost free style
version of Duke Ellington's Blue Pepper is the perfect end to a night
that promised much and certainly delivered.