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 no 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.
The arrangements for Until Tomorrow have a liberal dose of subtle, stealthy swing, yet as steeped as Zara McFarlane is in the jazz tradition, she has brought an eminently soul undercurrent to what she does, and it is entirely possible that she could appeal to audiences weaned as much on Jill Scott and Erykah Badu as Cassandra Wilson and Dianne Reeves. Blessed with a fine voice and a strength of character that has led her towards thought-provoking, if not challenging lyrics, Zara McFarlane has with Until Tomorrow taken a giant step down the road to what is surely a long, illustrious career.