“Her sound is drenched with originality and jazz legitimacy….a world class artist, composer and performer… Zoe shines as one of Britain’s most powerful compositional voices and important contemporary artists.” Ivors Academy
Described in The Observer as “a remarkable pianist by any standard”, Zoe Rahman has firmly established herself as one of the brightest stars on the contemporary jazz scene. A vibrant and highly individual pianist/composer, her style is deeply rooted in jazz yet it reflects her classical background, British/Bengali heritage and her very broad musical taste. Known for her powerful technique, wide-ranging imagination and exuberant performance, she has become a highly sought-after musician on the international jazz scene.
Born in Chichester, UK, to a Bengali father and English mother, Zoe studied classical piano at the Royal Academy of Music, took a music degree at Oxford University and then won a scholarship to study jazz performance at Berklee College of Music, Boston, where she studied with the inspirational pianist JoAnne Brackeen.
In July 2023 Zoe released her new album “Colour of Sound”, “the most ambitious, many-hued, uplifting large-ensemble music of her multi-award winning career”.
In 2021 Zoe won the Ivor Novello Impact Award at the Ivors Composer Awards, she won a MOBO Award (best Jazz Act 2012) for her album Kindred Spirits, “a work of breathtaking musical imagination” (Metro) and her second album, Melting Pot, was nominated in 2006 for one of the UK’s most prestigious music awards, the Nationwide Mercury Prize, alongside the likes of Thom Yorke (Radiohead), Arctic Monkeys and Muse. The album also won ‘Jazz Album of the Year’ at the UK’s inaugural Parliamentary Jazz Awards.
Her album, Where Rivers Meet, a stunning collaboration with her brother Idris, explores music from their Bengali heritage. “A wholly original brand of Anglo-Asian music” (Sunday Times). In 2022, the album was included in the allaboutjazz.com ’10 over-looked Classics’ list: “Ten randomly selected albums, recorded in the US and Europe between 1953 and 2021, which show jazz off at its finest”
Zoe has been invited to play at many international jazz festivals and has worked extensively throughout the UK and internationally, including performances in USA, Japan, Germany (NDR), Australia, North Sea Jazz, Kuwait, Sweden, Norway, Italy, France, Barbados, Romania, Hungary, Ireland, Algeria, Estonia, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka.
Aside from her own projects, Zoe has performed and recorded with many other artists including Courtney Pine, George Mraz, Jerry Dammers’ Spatial AKA Orchestra, Danny Thompson, Clark Tracey, Soothsayers, Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Sahana Bajpaie, Issie Barratt’s Interchange, Larry Stabbins, Arnob, Kuljit Bhamra, Reem Kelani, Roland Gift (FYC), Natacha Atlas, Nikki Yeoh, Yoko Ono, Martha Wainwright.
She has been a featured artist on numerous TV and radio programmes and is frequently invited to sit on high-profile panels – most notably, the Mercury Music Prize, BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year, Nottingham International Jazz Piano competition and the Peter Whittingham Jazz award. She shares her passion for music through teaching in a variety of contexts, inspiring musicians of all ages and abilities, and has worked with the National Youth Jazz Collective, National Youth Jazz Orchestra and as Artist in Residence with youth big band “Jazz Vehicle” in Lincoln (2013-2014).
As a composer, other than writing for her own band, she has written in many contexts, including for the “Told by an Idiot” Theatre Company touring shows Stan Laurel and Charlie Chaplin (2020) and I’m a Fool To Want You (2004) and the UK National Youth Jazz Orchestra. Her composition “Go With The Flow” is on the 2023/2024 ABRSM Classical Piano exam syllabus.