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19 septembre 2005

Rachel Z at Nighttown in Cleveland

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Contributed by Ronaldo Oregano

After two world tours as the featured pianist and keyboard player in Peter Gabriel's group, Rachel Z has a solo career that is rapidly on the rise. On Saturday, September 24th Ms. Z brings her trio to Nighttown in Cleveland.

Rachel Z has just released her seventh solo recording "Grace," which features several original compositions and is the first CD where she sings. This CD is a combination of originals and unique interpretations of modern pop writers like John Lennon, Kate Bush, and Kurt Cobain. Her previous CD "Everlasting" presented instrumental jazz versions of pop songs by artists ranging from The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to Seal, Sade, Steely Dan, and Kurt Cobain. Prior to that Rachel Z recorded a tribute to Joni Mitchell. Rachel Z is among the vanguard of musicians who are finding the jazz in modern pop music, and realizing its lasting value.

Rachel recorded and toured with saxophonist Wayne Shorter extensively in the late 90's and collaborated with him on the Grammy-winning CD "High Life."
Rachel Z has also played a prominent role in several major groups including those of Al DiMeola, Steps Ahead, Wayne Shorter, Vertu with Lenny White and Stanley Clarke, and most recently as a featured artist with Peter Gabriel's band. Rachel Z is clearly among the elite group of jazz musicians working today. This Summer and Fall, Rachel will be touring again in Europe and North America. For her appearance at Night Town, Rachel will be supported by her current New York trio consisting of drummer Bobby Rae and bassist Chris Luard.

Manhattan-born and raised Rachel Nicolazzo (aka Rachel Z) had music practically ingrained in her genetic code. Groomed to follow in her mother's operatic footsteps, she began voice lessons at two, started classical piano lessons at seven and attended the opera by age nine. "My first dollhouse was a Metropolitan Opera House complete with the stage and dolls which were the performers," she recalls.
"Then I heard Miles Smiles when I was 15, started rebelling against the classical by improvising, and played with a band that covered Joni Mitchell and Steely Dan songs."

Listening to Herbie Hancock's harmonies over Wayne Shorter's compositions helped her bridge the gap from her classical training to jazz."The way my jazz chops developed was twofold. I developed acoustic straight ahead and electronic fusion playing equally over time," she says. After launching a quintet called Nardis, she studied with Joanne Brackeen and Richie Beirach.

Don't miss the dynamic sounds of pianist Rachel Z and her Trio live at Nighttown on Saturday September 24th at 9 PM. Nighttown is located at 12387 Cedar Road in Cleveland Heights. For reservations call (216) 795-0550 or fax: (216) 795-0531.

"Rachel Z is a consistently adventurous player. Rachel occasionally reveals traces of influence from McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock, but more often she is her own player, voicing her harmonies with a dark, intimate quality." -Don Heckman, The Los Angeles Times

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