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  • Miles Hedley

ZOE & IDRIS RAHMAN at Mycenae House

Great jazz musicians seem to have an almost telepathic understanding with their bandmates. And when, as in the case of Zoe and Idris Rahman, those bandmates are also siblings, the connection becomes preternatural.

Piano virtuoso Zoe and her reed-playing brother showed off their extraordinary psychic link in a stunning gig at Mycenae House presented by multicultural local charity Global Fusion Music & Arts to mark 2019’s International Day Of Peace.

Drawing on Zoe’s 20-year back-catalogue of albums – including the most recent, Dreamland - she and Idris gave us a programme that covered every mood imaginable, from gentle to jaunty by way of lyrical ballads and lightning-quick runs up and down the keys. And every song resonated with their Anglo-Irish-Bengali upbringing, the tunes often switching effortlessly between syncopated jazz chords and the sort of sliding scales you hear in ragas.

It’s a gorgeous combination that was shown off perfectly in the lilting compositions that closed each half of the evening, the first celebrating an Irish granny, the last a tender tribute to Zoe’s daughter – with both given added emotional depth by the fabulously nuanced playing of piano, clarinet and tenor sax and by the evident joy the siblings took from one another’s musicianship.

By contrast, other songs fairly bounced along, with Idris swinging like Benny Goodman above a pulsating bass line provided by his sister’s faultless and powerful left hand.

This was a magnificent gig by the Rahmans and one guaranteed to remain long in the memory of everyone who was there. If you get the chance to see them either together or separately, grab it with both hands. Your soul will love you for it.

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