Rachel Z Trio

Rachel Z Trio

BandJazzAlternative

The pianist from Peter Gabriel Band Rachel Z Trio sports a new CD featuring Tony Levin on Bass and the new drum sensation Bobbie Rae with tunes by Smashing Pumpkins(Tonight,Tonight),Sade(Kiss of Life) and Seal(Kiss froma Rose),Beatles(Here Comes the Sun)the group swings and rocks hard.

Biography

RACHEL Z TRIO Kiss of Life
Pianist Rachel Z returns with another outstanding trio date, Kiss of Life (Tone Center, April 2004 release), a collection of inspired
jazz interpretations of rock tunes. Like her acclaimed take on
Wayne Shorter’s music (On The Milky Way Express, TC 4011) this set pays
tribute to the music of Rachel’s rock muses. Rachel’s trio features bassist Tony Levin(King Crimson,Peter Gabriel,Paul Simon,John Lennon) and drummer
Bobbie Rae(Amplify).
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.
Rachel Z graduated from the New England Conservatory with a “Distinction
in Performance” award while working professionally in the Boston area with
performers like Bob Moses, Miroslav Vitous and George Garzone.
Returning to New York in 1988, she toured with New England Conservatory
schoolmate turned rhythm & jazz superstar saxman Najee and later co-wrote
album Tokyo Blue. While performing and recording steadily with the classic
fusion band Steps Ahead from 1988 through 1996, she also worked with Al Di
Meola, Larry Coryell, Special EFX, and Angela Bofill, and began a fruitful
association with producer/vibraphonist Mike Mainieri. Mainieri produced her
Columbia Records debut Trust the Universe in 1993. Reflecting the influence
of Corea, Hancock, and even Pat Metheny, the CD featured the jazz radio
hit “Nardis.”
Her connection to saxophone great Wayne Shorter grew from major
influence to full-blown collaborator over the two years she worked on his hit
comeback album High Life, for which she built a synthesized orchestral
framework to crystallize his musical vision. Rachel Z also played acoustic
piano on the album and was musical director for the tour that followed. The
CD won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Album.
1996 also saw the release of her NYC Records debut A Room of One’s Own,
which she dedicated to the many women artists who have played an
influential role in her life. Two years later Rachel released an album on GRP,
Love is the Power, an album that featured hip-hop grooves with melodic
piano flourishes and poems about the search for eternal love and wisdom
through music.
Rachel returned to acoustic music, in an all-female trio setting, with On the
Milky Way Express, her well-received tribute to Wayne Shorter, in 2000.
THOUGHTS FROM Z…
Joni's songs, such as Moon at the
Window (Is it possible to learn how to
care and yet not care about love),
Both Sides Now,All I Want (all I really
really want is to be with you and to
bring out the best in me and in you),
are songs I sang school. Later I grew
up and turned to Joni's Blue to explain
heartache with songs like Help Me. As
a woman I turned to her lyrics on
Chinese Cafe and River to teach me
how to value each moment and to
treasure life and the love of my life. To
put family first or to lose it. To express
feelings through music is the greatest
gift of all so why not write love songs
all day to the love of your life?
Joni also embraced great jazz artists
whom I treasure. I remember the night
I went to her house with Wayne and
heard him play gorgeous melodies
on her poems. She was confident and
inspiring to me and I left feeling more
determined to follow my heart!
Harmonically Joni uses interesting
chords due to her alternate tunings on
the guitar this made the songs easy to
expand upon for improvisation.

Discography

Rachel Z Trio_Kiss of Life
Rachel Z Trio_First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
Peter Gabriel Hits
Peter Gabriel DVD "Growing Up Live"
Moon at the Window
On the Milkyway Express
Room of One's Own
Love is the Power
Trust the Universe
Highlife-Wayne Shorter
Infinite Desire-Al DiMeola
Kiss My Axe-Al DiMeola
Peacebox
Amplify
Greatest Hits and Medina-Pino Daniele

Set List

Big Yellow Taxi-Joni
Help Me-Joni
Heart Shaped Box-Nirvana
Crestfallen-Smashing Pumpkins
Fragile-Sting
Fields Of Gold-Sting
Both Sides Now-Joni
Black Hole Sun-Soundgarden
Tonight,Tonight-Smashing Pumpkin
Kiss Of Life-sade
Autumn Leaves
Kissed by a Rose-Seal
Hurt-Trent Reznor
Ring of Fire-Johnny Cash
Frist Time Ever I Saw Your Face-Roberta Flack
Killing Me Softly-Roberta Flack
Softly as in a Morning Sunrise
Inamorata
Mortal