Zara MacFarlane - Until TomorrowBrownswood Recordings
One listen of “Until Tomorrow”, the full length debut of London songstress Zara MacFarlane and you would think this is the voice of a seasoned veteran. The fact is Zara’s lovely soprano exudes power and tenderness that belies her twenty eight years. Equally impressive is her resume that list working with heavyweights like Denys Baptiste, Soweto Kinch and Hugh Masekela among others. Zara’s debut lp includes originals such as “Blossom Tree” and Chiaroscuro”, the former is a warm and gentle tune that demonstrates her superb songwriting ability combined with the rhythmic playing of pianist Peter Edwards. “Feed the Spirit” is another standout, originally penned by Harry Whitaker (Roy Ayers) Zara sets this track off with a simmering intro augmented by the double bass work of Nick Walsh and then explodes with her voice floating over spirited tenor sax phrasings. Other favorites include the title track and “Waking Sleep”. If you weren’t aware of Zara before then you definitely need to get familiar. This is a gorgeous record and Zara certainly belongs in the discussion with Jose James and Gretchen Parlato for new Jazz vocalists marking their mark on the scene today.
Reg Dancy, 11/11