We were very late getting into our rooms for this gig, so Samuel and I worked our butts off solidly until the audience started to come in. The sound check ended at 7:29:30. There was just enough time before the gig to eat and to finish some details, and then Sarah Jane Morris and Antonio Forcione came on to stage to totally take over our consciousness. It was half way through the second set that I realized that I wasn’t taking notes…
The first thing one was conscious of was the sheer power and emotion of Sarah’s presentation. The second thing was Antonio’s mastery of just about every guitar technique that there is. And then the third thing. The two of them are of one mind on stage, a perfect partnership.
They gave us a few covers, and quite a few with Sarah’s lyrics with Antonio writing the music to the poems. Some of them were from their new album, “Compared to What”. The title song featured in the second set. It was written by Gene McDaniels, but I remember and loved it as it was performed by Mose Allison. The two of them made it their own with amazing power and understanding of the tough lyric. It was recorded in 1969 by Roberta Flack, but it is unfortunately just as relevant today.
Sarah sings songs for which the words are the key. She delivers with range and power, often sprechgesang in style, always powerful.
Antonio gave us some solo pieces. The one that sticks in my mind is his “Alhambra”. I had heard him play it before at the club, and it had almost literally taken me back to my visit to Granada. So I thought it would be interesting to listen to it again. Three bars later and I was walking by the water pools in the Spanish sun. On a lighter note, (sorry), Antonio is a very good backing singer.
No, the evening was not one of total gloom and seriousness. There was lots of joy and fun in it. My abiding memory (and there will be one) will be the two working as one.
On Friday, a piano/sax quartet to die for. Kate Williams on piano brings the amazing Stan Sulzmann on saxes, Oli Hayhurst on bass and David Ingamells on drums.
“…crisp, incisive and totally at one with the rhythmic ebb and flow.” – “Williams has a quality rare among jazz composers: a musical vocabulary that’s all her own” The Observer *****