b. 20 January 1971, Chichester, Sussex, England. Playing classical piano from the age of four, Rahman studied as a Junior Exhibitioner at the Royal Academy of Music from 1982-89 before attending Oxford University, studying music at St. Hugh’s College and graduating in 1992. During her student years, she developed her interest in jazz, playing with various groups. Among her piano influences, Rahman has named Alice Coltrane, Chick Corea, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Abdullah Ibrahim, Keith Jarrett, Thelonious Monk, Phineas Newborn Jnr. , Horace Silver and McCoy Tyner. Later studies included Boston’s Berklee College Of Music, 1998. At Berklee, her tutors included JoAnne Brackeen, another influence, and Ray Santisi.
During her spell in Boston Rahman led a trio with bass player Josh Davis and drummer Bob Moses. Later, she formed a quintet with her saxophonist brother, Idris Rahman. From the mid-90s through to the mid-00s, she played in piano-bass-drums trios with bass players Robin Mullarkey, Jeremy Brown, Orlando LeFleming and Oli Hayhurst, and drummers Daniel Crosby, Winston Clifford, Darren Abraham and Gene Calderazzo. In 1998, Rahman was featured on a television programme hosted by Julian Joseph, who is also an influence. The following year, Rahman won the Perrier Young Jazz Musician Of The Year award. Rahman has been further recognized by nomination in the Rising Star category of the BBC Jazz Awards in 2001, and winning the 2006 Parliamentary Jazz Album Of The Year award for her second solo collection Melting Pot, which was also nominated for the Nationwide Mercury Prize of 2006.
In 2000, Rahman became a member of Clark Tracey’s Quintet, and later appeared on the 2005 recording The Mighty Sas. Among others with whom Rahman has played and sometimes recorded are Tony Bianco, Gary Boyle, Jacqui Dankworth, Carol Decker, Roland Gift, Mekaal Hasan, Patric Illingworth, Keziah Jones, Reem Kelani, Netsayi, Roland Sutherland and Steve Williamson. Early 00s tours included several of the UK and also a visit to South America. In 2005 Rahman composed the music for the critically acclaimed stage production I’m A Fool To Want You. An inventive and fluent improviser, Rahman is a masterly contemporary jazz presence.