Rachel Carmel Nicolazzo, 28 December 1962, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA. A highly musical child, whose mother sang operatic music, Rachel Z began taking voice lessons at the age of two and five years later began studying piano. In her mid-teens, she was diverted from a classical path through hearing Miles Davis Miles Smiles and was soon playing improvised music and working with a pop band. Her piano playing developed to such an extent that she was able to attend summer school at the Berklee College Of Music. This was in 1979, and now prompted into jazz, she formed her own quintet, Nardis, and studied with JoAnne Brackeen before attending the New England Conservatory of Music from which she graduated in 1984. She continued her studies, now with Richie Beirach, meanwhile playing professionally in and around Boston in a small group that included George Garzone. In 1988 she moved to New York and the following years was with Najee, a saxophonist whom...