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December 2023


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Posted on: 19/06/2023

5 stars

Close up culture - review

SARAH Jane Morris made her debut at Ronnie Scott’s 28 years ago. She has been coming back ever since. She is ingrained into the jazz club’s DNA and I imagine she will be invited back for as long as she wishes.

Although now in her early 60s, Sarah Jane has lost none of her passion or drive. Indeed, she seems in turbo-charged mode and her live performances remain tour de forces.

No concert is ever quite the same, but you are always guaranteed to be blown away by her extraordinarily deep voice – and have your ears burnt at some stage by Sarah Jane’s passionate views on social justice.

Living in St Leonards-on-Sea on the south coast (swimming regularly) and happily married (to artist Mark), Sarah Jane’s creative juices are overflowing....

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Posted on: 04/01/2022

5 stars

NYE at Ronnie Scotts

I CAN’T think of a more uplifting way to kick-start the New Year into gear than to spend a night listening to the glorious Sarah Jane Morris at Ronnie Scott’s in London.

Sarah Jane is a musician who has been plying her trade since the 1970s – and has never once stood still. Although her baritone voice defines her (marvellous when set against the falsetto voice of Jimmy Somerville in the Communards), it’s her willingness to experiment, internationalise her music, and on occasion politicise her lyrics that stands her out from the madding crowd. She beats her own path does Sarah Jane. Bravely and passionately.

Her performances on stage are more like theatre than concerts as she recalls tales from her past (a wayward husband long departed but now a dear friend, a new one found and dearly loved, a father who spent time in prison, a mum much missed and brothers galore). She’s also not frightened to talk about the menopause one moment – the ongoing refugee crisis the next......

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Sarah Jane Morris At Ronnie Scott’s – Live Music Review

September 18, 2021

THIRTY five long years have passed since the Communards had chart success with ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’. It was the best-selling single of 1986 by a country mile (one of my all-time favourites) and rightly so.

Thankfully, both Jimmy Somerville and Sarah Jane Morris, comrades in arms at the Communards, have continued to enjoy musical success, albeit independently. Both are still making albums (Morris more so than Somerville) and occasionally they hook up to remind the world of the great music they once created.

On Thursday, at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London, Morris proved yet again that her deep soul-searching voice – supported by an overwhelming passion and thrilling stage presence – will always captivate audiences. It reaches depths that other musicians will never reach in a multitude of lifetimes. It’s the musical equivalent of floating on the Dead Sea.

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5 stars

NO one currently brings more passion, vocal dexterity and sincerity to their music than Sarah Jane Morris. Whether it’s railing against injustice or infusing the songs of the late great John Martyn with a little bit of magic dust, Morris live is not to be missed.

Appearing at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club for a three-night run – some 26 years after making her debut in her Soho ‘front room’ – Morris was on premier-cru form as she delivered a fine menu of songs from her latest album Sweet Little Mystery. Interpretations of songs written by Martyn whom Morris admits she had a crush on as a 14-year-old – indeed one that she has yet to shake off and probably never will. For the record, she recently celebrated her 60th birthday, although you wouldn’t think it judging by her dynamic on-stage presence.

Although love songs in their own right, the stamp of Morris – and her left hand, right hand man Tony Remy – is all over them. Her deep, deep voice gives Martyn’s lyrics an extra emotional edge, turning songs such as Couldn’t Love You More, Send Me One Line (not on the album) and Solid Air (Martyn’s tribute to Nick Drake) into magical music tours. I defy anyone to listen to Solid Air and not experience a massive attack of the goosebumps.....

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Posted on: 02/08/2019

Edinburgh Fringe (Aug 1st - 11th)

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Jazzwise review
Mirror Review

Sarah Jane Morris & Tony Remy
Sweet Little Mystery

One 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 album.

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.

The 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 >

Times 4 star Review


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


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.

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SJM Observer Nov 2018 MuscatSJM Observer Nov 2018 Muscat text
SJM & AF - West Sussex Gazette 2018

" she hits a career high with an album dedicated to Africa"

"..a transcendent mix of cold fury and compassion"

"Sarah-Jane 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 combines a visceral lyricism with intense moral and political engagement."

"...this 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 her masterpiece"

"A powerful, diverse album that Morris considers her best to date, an opinion that few will challenge."
MOJO (4 stars)

" packs a dramatic punch, often uplifting, occasionally harrowing, but always passionate and challenging."
HI-FI CHOICE (5 stars)

"Sarah-Jane 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."

"This...album combines great music and shocking themes to powerful effect."

"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"
Prestridge Squared

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: 10/02/2017


Ropetackle 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: 04/02/2015
Sarah Jane Morris, Carl Harper: Zanzibar, Liverpool

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: 12/09/2014
New INterNatIoNalIst Review
New INterNatIoNalIst ● september 2014

Bloody Rain

by 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.'

Raw. ★★★★★ LG

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.
Guardian 09/2013
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