Emma Rawicz Chroma
At the age of just 21, Emma Rawicz has sown many of the important seeds for a major career. Indeed, she can already be considered a part of the wave of Young British Jazz which has been making its mark worldwide. The North Devon-born saxophonist has led her band at festivals in Turkey, Israel and France, and single-handedly negotiated and managed a major UK tour. The album title Chroma ('color' or 'paint' in Greek) is very significant: Emma Rawicz is a synesthete. She always involuntarily and simultaneously experiences music through a second sensory pathway, color. All of the tracks, with one exception, are named after relatively little known colors. The band is mostly made up of the kind of in-demand UK players whom one finds in many contexts: Asaf Sirkis, Ivo Neame and Conor Chaplin have already appeared on ACT albums: Sirkis with Gwilym Simcock, and Neame and Chaplin in bands led by Marius Neset. Guitarist Ant Law has made his mark too, both with his own albums and with his work with Tim Garland. The less-known name on Chroma (for the time being) is Emma's friend and direct contemporary, vocalist Immy Churchill, another rising star. The musical empathy between them is one of the joys of this disc. Of her role as bandleader, Rawicz says: For me it is essential to embrace the other musicians' personalities and to let them be themselves. The album has a strong thread running through it, with three very different readings of the same tune, Xanadu. The album ends on an optimistic tone with Falu, in which altissimo, multiphonics and ferocious finger-work stand above all as an emphatic declaration of Rawicz's saxophone prowess. Chroma is about colors...and much, much more. It is a major statement and a deeply satisfying album from a star on the rise.