Sarah Jane Morris & Tony Remy
Sweet Little Mystery
of the finest of improvisational jazz voices and most fluid of
intricate guitarists has joined their supple skills together to create a
supreme homage to one of folk/jazz’s more colourful personalities. In
fact, they breathe new life with their astute interpretations of songs
created by maverick influencer John Martyn on this lovingly curated
Composed about Martyn’s fellow tragic folk minstrel Nick Drake,
Morris’ extraordinary contralto voice plumbs the fathomless depths on
Martyn’s signature song Solid Air. Sassily re-inventing some of Martyn’s
more mawkish tunes such as Call Me with jazzy notes and re-shaping
Carmine with her feral vocal attack is a masterstroke by Morris and Co.
heart-wrenching beauty of Couldn’t Love You More, May You Never and One
World are magnificently re-touched and sonically sculpted into songs
beyond their original forms.
Like spooning musical medicine into
the ear, the beating heart of this exquisitely crafted album lies in the
subtle performances by Morris and her ensemble which elevate these
bitter-sweet songs into epic, ethereal mysteries.
See full review here >
This was a magnificent return to Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club for Sarah Jane Morris with an uplifting set centered upon her latest work with longstanding collaborator Tony Rémy to deliver revelatory interpretations of the sublime songbook of John Martyn, with 'Couldn't love you more' a beguiling and soulful highlight of the first set.
The sumptuous talents of her regular band of Tony Rémy (guitar), Henry Thomas (bass) Tim Cansfield (guitar), Martyn Barker (drums) were delightfully augmented by the special guest appearance of Dominic Miller, whose signature lithe and expressive counter-melodies illuminated many of the pieces, including an elegant and mournful take of his own 'Fragile' summoner's tale.
Morris and Rémy's talent for reimagining the temper and tone of classic songs was perfectly exemplified on the arresting interpretation of 'Imagine', that transposed the detached idealism of Lennon's original into a forthright anthem on the plight and rights of the modern-day refugee.
An utterly hypnotic 'Solid air' blew open the second set with the ethereal beginning of Martyn's lament to Nick Drake acquiring an almost transcendental groove as it shifted gears.
A stately and gospel-tinged take on Dylan's 'I shall be released' prefaced a slightly incongruous, yet totally joyous 'Don't leave me this way'.
Martyn's redemptive 'I don't know about evil' provided a captivating coda for a wonderful opening performance for Morris' three-night residency at this auspicious venue.
A related five-track studio EP 'Sweet little mystery' is already available with a full-length album to follow www.sarahjanemorris.co.uk.
ANDY RAWLL – RECORD COLLECTOR MAGAZINE
Sarah Jane Morris review: An incandescent homage to John Martyn
With her mellifluous delivery and four-octave range, Sarah Jane Morris could hum a contacts list and still dazzle. Little wonder, then, that her take on the music of John Martyn, the late singer/songwriter who straddled folk, blues, jazz and rock — as indeed does Morris — felt incandescent.
“He was an outsider, a purveyor of truth,” she said, all red curls and swirling petticoats, introducing covers from forthcoming Martyn-inspired album Sweet Little Mystery. While songs such as Solid Air and Head and Heart retained their original hypnotic fragility, each came with new vocal embellishments that illuminated sentiments buried within and theatrical gestures that boldly acted them out.
The musical line-up was similarly inspired: kit drums and four guitars including an acoustic wielded by longtime collaborator Tony Remy, a man “too cool to sweat”, grinned Morris. Elsewhere, a cover of Janis Joplin’s Piece of My Heart saw Morris in husky full throttle.
Social issues loomed large; Morris spoke truth to power, calling for peace and understanding and lamenting Brexit, anecdotally and in song: Don’t Leave Me This Away, her 1986 smash disco hit with the Communards, and a rowdy singalong encore, has never felt more resonant.
Click here to view the review >
"..here she hits a career high with an album dedicated to Africa"
"..a transcendent mix of cold fury and compassion"
Morris is in every sense an original voice... Her latest album...
performed with a stellar ensemble of rock, soul and world musicians
including Dominic Miller, Pee Wee Ellis, Seckou Keita and Courtney Pine,
is all about Africa....it combines a visceral lyricism with intense
moral and political engagement."
THE ARTS DESK
is a remarkable album...for its ambition, its sound world, its powerful
stories and, at its centre, the breathtaking range and timbral richness
of Sarah Jane Morris's voice.."
"Bloody Rain....is her masterpiece"
"A powerful, diverse release......an album that Morris considers her best to date, an opinion that few will challenge."
MOJO (4 stars)
"..it packs a dramatic punch, often uplifting, occasionally harrowing, but always passionate and challenging."
HI-FI CHOICE (5 stars)
Morris has kept excellent company during her illustrious career but
with Bloody Rain, she excels herself.........Morris has enlisted some
wonderful talents here: Courtney Pine on sax, the exuberant Zimbabwean
singer Eska, the Soweto Gospel Choir, James Brown's right hand man Pee
Wee Ellis, and so much more."
NEW INTERNATIONALIST (5 stars)
"This...album combines great music and shocking themes to powerful effect."
NEW INTERNATIONALIST (5 stars)
"Bloody Rain is the latest album from Sarah Jane Morris and it's an album that will make you weep and your spirits soar."
"Morris's deep husky voice is stunning.."
"..the singer whose shows always pack an emotional punch unveils a strong new album"
In Second Heaven with Sarah Jane Morris (Live Music Review)
As evidenced by her recent 102-minute set at Brassiere Zedel, a stone’s throw from London’s Piccadilly Circus, 57 year old Morris is very much in sparkling form. Not one of the 12 songs she performed failed to hit the right note with the evening finishing far too early with a rousing rendition of ‘I Shall be Released’ which had the sell-out crowd screaming for more (she would have obliged if it was not for the fact that the room had to be turned around quickly for La Voix and her pianist).
The ex-lead singer of 1980s band The Republic delivered a performance that displayed the full range of her talent. She was superbly accompanied on stage by guitarists Tony Remy and Tim Cansfield (wonderful on vocals in Morris’s version of ‘Piece of My Heart’ where he adds’ I wish Trump would go away’).
Click here to read the full review
||Posted on: Fri Feb 10 2017
JIM MULLEN ORGAN TRIO (FEATURING NIGEL PRICE) & SARAH JANE MORRIS
AT THE SOUTH COAST JAZZ FESTIVALRopetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham, Sussex - 28th January 2017
Vocalist Sarah Jane Morris, who first came to the public's attention via The Communards and The Jazz Renegades, has been described as ‘alternative' by some but has always been at home across a wide range of genres including Rock, Soul, Jazz and Funk. She has fourteen albums to her credit as a leader and in addition is a song writer of some note, her lyrics often taking few prisoners. Her latest offering 'Compared To What' in duet with Antonio Forcione has further increased her prominence. For the Shoreham show she was joined by two fine guitarists Tony Remy and Tim Cansfield.
There is no time to draw breath or to divert your eyes from the stage when this lady is in residence. She takes full control from the start and demands the full attention of the audience with her highly intense vocals, imposing presence and sheer class in everything she does. Her set at the festival contained mostly blues tinged and what we used to call 'protest songs’ penned by herself and Tony Remy. Her vocal range and sheer power are both phenomenal allowing her to project her stark and sometimes uncomfortable messages at full impact. Both guitarists play 'Spanish style' amplified instruments with her co composer delivering some breathtaking solo passages throughout. Three great modern rock anthems were included in the set, Sting's ‘Fragile', the John Lennon classic ‘Imagine' and Janice Joplin's screaming anthem 'Take Another Little Piece Of My Heart'. All received the full treatment with the singers own additional lyrics only adding to the dramatic impact. The encore and long standing ovation as the set closed was fully deserved.
To view the full review, click here >
||Posted on: Wed Feb 4 2015
With her latest album Bloody Rain having garnered significant critical acclaim, Getintothis’ Paul Higham saw the light in Sarah Jane Morris’ African-inspired and jazz-inflected songs of social injustice.
It is fair to say that Sarah Jane Morris has had an interesting and varied career.
Beginning as singer in the early 1980s with London’s politically inspired outfit, The Republic, Morris found broader fame – and chart success – as a vocal foil to Jimmy Somerville in The Communards. Notoriety was assured as her 1989 solo single Me and Mrs Jones was banned by the BBC for its lesbian content.
It is to her credit, then, that her most recent LP, Bloody Rain, feels like a high watermark in an already acclaimed career.....Click here to read the full review >
|Posted on: Fri Sep 12 2014
New INterNatIoNalIst ● september 2014
Bloody Rainby Sarah-Jane Morris (Fallen Angel 011P CD)
Bluesy singer Sarah-Jane Morris has kept excellent company during her illustrious career, but with Bloody Rain, she excels herself. This African-inspired crowd-funded album combines great music and shocking themes to powerful effect. (And it also raises money for SING, a charity raising funds for women and children affected by HIV and AIdS.)
The titular song of Bloody Rain takes aim at political tyrannies; other themes include reproductive health (this with a calypso), child soldiers (written with the deeds of the Janjaweed militia and the Lord’s Resistance Army in mind) and homophobic violence. The last is given face by a song called simply ‘david Kato’ in furious memory of the murdered Ugandan activist. Morris has enlisted some wonderful talents here: Courtney Pine on sax, the exuberant Zimbabwean singer Eska, the Soweto Gospel Choir, James Brown’s right-hand man Pee Wee Ellis, and so much more.
Musically, Morris and her band zip through a variety of African-inspired modalities. They are best in their most expansive moments, not least on the cast’s cover of Bob dylan’s ‘I Shall Be Released’. But, as with ‘david Kato’, Morris’s big strength is in the close focus. ‘No Beyoncé’, her arresting song on ‘honour’ killings, is all the more shocking for
its quiet litany of the ordinary things that a dead girl in an otherwise ordinary family will never get: ‘No Beyoncé, no Shakira for you, no fashion, no boyfriends too.’
File Download: sarahjanemorrisnewinterna.pdf
There's no hiding place at a Sarah Jane Morris gig – either from her opulent, multi-octave voice and raw emotional clout that recalls Nina Simone and Janis Joplin, or from her lyrics that explore love and pain, sex crimes, war crimes, Catholicism and contraception – and a whole uncompromising bunch more....
....the whole show suggested that though Sarah Jane Morris has enjoyed some inspiring partnerships over the years, this latest incarnation with Forcione is already sounding like one of her best.