Anybody keeping an eye on the ongoing development of the British jazz scene will have noticed Zara McFarlane in the last few years. The 28 year-old London vocalist has made a string of impressive appearances with musicians who do not choose their collaborators without careful consideration –Denys Baptiste, Orphy Robinson, Soweto Kinch and Jazz Jamaica All Stars to name but some. McFarlane's appearance on the latter's 2006 Motown-themed album Motor City Roots revealed a singer whose power was offset by delicacy, as was clear from her sensitive handling of Stevie Wonder's My Cherie Amour.
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All of these experiences have furthered the growth of Zara McFarlane as an artist in the most complete sense of the term and the singer made good on her potential when she issued her self-produced EP, Until Tomorrow in 2010. The 6-track mini-album was evenly split between original compositions such as Captured and standards like the perennial jazz favourite On Green Dolphin Street. There was enormous poise in the way that McFarlane handled the melodic line and chord changes of a piece but what was arguably as impressive was the fact that she asserted herself as a thoughtful lyric writer.
The EP evolved into a full-length album, Until Tomorrow, and it marks Zara McFarlane's debut for Gilles Peterson's Brownswood Recordings, released in October 2011. Backed by a brilliant aggregation of musicians that includes pianist Peter Edwards, double bassist Nick Walsh, drummer Andy Chapman and saxophonists Binker Golding, Camilla George and Zem Adu, McFarlane comes into her own on an engrossing set that includes more originals such as Chiaroscuro and More Than Mine.