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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Zoe Rahman & Laura MacDonald @ The Lit and Phil - July 16

Zoe Rahman (piano);  Laura MacDonald (alto sax)
(Review by Steve H/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew)

I have seen Zoe Rahman on several occasions and always enjoyed her performances immensely. I had not previously seen Laura MacDonald  but her CV was very impressive. So I was really looking forward to this sell out joint promotion by JNE & GemArts Masala Festival  at the Lit and Phil. 

Although the evening was pleasant enough I felt that the sum of the parts seemed greater than that of the whole. Apart from one occasion where Rahman played second fiddle to Courtney Pine’s ego at Sage Gateshead a couple of years ago I  had not previously seen her in duo format.

Rahman's solo gigs are always amazing affairs as she constantly improvises and moves seamlessly between genres (classical, Bengali, free, swing etc. etc.) On these occasions you can’t help but get swept along with the ebb and flow of the music. MacDonald on alto sax has a lovely swinging crisp sound. It was probably no surprise then that the songs I enjoyed the most were both solo pieces - one from each artist.  

The pair played mainly their own compositions apart from an Abdullah Ibrahim tune, a Thelonious Monk tune and two pieces from the late Indian polymath Rabindranath Tagore the last of which was the encore which had such a Scottish feel to it that it reminded me of Auld Lang Syne!
Steve H

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