Preview: Zoe Rahman, jazz director




Pianist and composer Zoe Rahman will be joined by the nine-piece Inner City Ensemble for a tour in the north of England at the end of October

Pianist Zoe Rahman (pictured right) will be the third director in the Jazz Directors Series produced by Manchester's Band On The Wall in partnership with Parr Jazz, Lancaster Jazz Festival, DJ Lubi, Brighter Sound and Root Music with support from Jazz North and Arts Council England. Rahman follows previous directors Terence Blanchard and Chris Potter.

The series is a two-year residency and touring project which brings together emerging UK professional jazz musicians with a leading musician in the role of jazz director. Each edition comprises a four-day residency produced by Brighter Sound and a corresponding tour of live concerts produced by Band On The Wall. The residency musicians form the Inner City Ensemble, a changing group of emerging professionals who have applied for the positions identified by each jazz director with the support of Brighter Sound and Jazz North.

Rahman won the MOBO Award for Best Jazz Act in 2012 for her album Kindred Spirits, which featured a guest appearance by Courtney Pine. Her second album, Melting Pot, was nominated for a Mercury Prize and won jazz album of the year at the first Parliamentary Jazz Awards. She has performed extensively around the world, as well as on numerous television and radio programmes, and has been a member of the judging panels for awards such as the Mercury Music Prize, BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year and the Nottingham International Jazz Piano competition. From 2013-14 she was artist in residence with the youth big band Jazz Vehicle in Lincoln.

The Inner City Ensemble for this Jazz Directors Series consists of nine young professional musicians, selected through the open-call application process. The band will play Rahman's original material written for a Guildhall School of Music and Drama project, plus new and as yet unheard compositions.

The line-up includes performers from Tomorrow’s Warriors and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, as well as alumni of the Royal Brussels Conservatoire, Royal Northern College of Music, Royal Academy of Music, Cambridge University and Leeds College of Music. The ensemble's members are Aleksandra Topczewska (alto sax), Arnaud Guichard (tenor sax), Daniel Mitchell (trombone), Faye MacCalman (clarinet), Hanna Mbuya (tuba), James Brady (trumpet), Maria Rehakova (flute), Roz McDonald (bass) and Yusuf Ahmed (drums).

Rahman said, “I’m really excited to be working with such a fantastic group of musicians and I can't wait to share the stage with them. Many thanks to everyone who applied to work on this project, it was great to see such a wealth of talent out there”.

The tour will include dates in Morecambe, Bradford, Warrington and Manchester. Venues and dates are as follows:

19 October - More Music, Morecambe
20 October - Alhambra Studio, Bradford
21 October - Pyramid Studio, Warrington
22 October - Band On The Wall, Manchester

For further details and ticket bookings go to the Band On The Wall website.

Bruce Lindsay


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