Jazz musician Zoe Rahman's exploration of Bengali music
Mercury Prize nominated pianist set for St Andrews and Dunfermline shows
Zoe Rahman is classically-trained and has explored the music of her father’s Bengali culture, although her own upbringing in Chichester was very English. Despite her wide-ranging musical interests, she has no doubt where her primary loyalty lies.
‘I’m a jazz musician at heart. I only really started exploring Bengali music recently, and adapting it to my own style. To me it is all just music – I don’t like categories.’
A Mercury Prize nomination in 2006 helped establish the pianist as a rising star in UK jazz. At the Fife Jazz Festival, she will perform solo before Mina Agossi’s set in St Andrews, and with Courtney Pine in Dunfermline.
‘On a solo gig what I play partly depends on the audience, the room and the piano. I’m working on new material for my band which I’m hoping to record soon, and might work some of that in.’
Courtney Pine’s concert will focus on the music from Europa, due for release in March and inspired by places the saxophonist has visited across Europe.
‘They are a fun band to work with, although it’s very challenging – there is a lot of written music for the piano, and when he first gave me the charts I realised my classical training was going to be handy!’
Other festival highlights include American pianist Cyrus Chestnut and home-grown talent in Trio AAB, the Classic Jazz Orchestra and the Fife Jazz Orchestra.
Byre Theatre, St. Andrews, 4 Feb; Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline, 5 Feb