Blues Shone Bright at Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival 2017
Colston Hall was buzzing to the sound of live music from the Foyer, through The Lantern and into the Main Stage. Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival has become a regular event in music lovers diaries from Bristol and beyond with its sparkling mix of Jazz & Blues.
Bluesdoodles dipped into the weekend for a Smörgåsbord of blues on offer, from Sari Schorr to Mud Morganfield and we had listening fun and the magic of live music, festival delights of food, beer and meeting and making friends.
The Lantern shone bright as Lorna took the vocal lead for Northsyde and their distinctive blending of blues, funk twisted with the free flow of blues jam tradition weaving in the Allman Brothers and a rocky edge…………………….
No gentle warm up with Sari and her band, she hit the ground running and the tension power and sheer beauty of live music just kept coming. The set list was dominated by tracks from her critically acclaimed debut album Force Of Nature. The album title perfectly describes Sari’s voice it is a true force of nature. Read more HERE
Triple Blues Power Saturday.
Whilst we waited we were treated to Bristol based Elles Bailey in the Foyer deliver blues with power and emotion not surprisingly the applause was warm and loud after every number.
Robben ford was the first act on the main stage today, as blues touched the soul of Jazz we heard a trio on top form as Jonny Henderson’s Hammond and Evan Jenkins drumming provided the support for Robben’s vocals and glorious guitar.
No one would argue, Robben Ford was on fire this afternoon for the Bristol Jazz &
Blues Festival. This was a masterclass in blues guitar playing full of timing, emotion and the soul that makes blues blend and bend around the lyrics. Read More HERE
With a short gap, we had time to eat and chat and listen t the music flowing through the venue this is what a festival is all about what every the weather the music is the force that binds us all.
The next double helping of blues from two renowned artists Kirk Fletcher former lead guitarist of The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Followed by Mud Morganfield, bringing to Bristol the legacy of his father Mud Morganfield.
Kirk Fletcher– The set was smooth a cocktail of blues guitar with a new song included with Kirk exploring the eternal question Wish I Had The Answer. This is blues that is full of the whole palette and warmed the hall up for the second helping on the double bill Mud Morganfield………..
The blues were hollered up in every shade with lead breaks and play from all the instruments in turn as hooks for Mud’s vocals as he delivered his father’s catalogue of classics. Mud Morganfield is the legacy that keeps the legend live on stages across the world. We definitely got our Mojo Working, as we met the Seventh Son and left with the Backdoor Man. Read More HERE
Bristol Lantern shining on Singing Divas Northsyde & Sari Schorr
Colston Hall, returns with the Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival. The venue is awash with music, a chance to catch up with friends and chill in the foyer with an array of free spectacular shows. Tonight The Lantern shone bright as Lorna took the vocal lead for Northsyde and their distinctive blending of blues, funk twisted with the free flow of blues jam tradition weaving in the Allman Brothers and a rocky edge.
Tonight, Lorna was resplendent in Black Top Hat and flowing wig, by the end of the set both were dispatched to the wings and the cropped urchin beauty was revealed adding a vulnerability that is counter intuitive to the strong vocals. With a collection of Northsyde defined numbers the set list played to the combined strengths of the band, Lorna up front with vocals that curl and turning lyrics into an angst-ridden journey through the melody. The grounding of the melodies are defined by the powerhouse of a rhythm section, Hayden Doyle on drums and the distinctive bass lines of Ian Mauricio. Yes, you were right left-handed Ian has the stringing on his bass upside down. Pulling the rhythm together and building complexity is the wizardry of Jules Fothergill’s guitar explosions of licks, and hooks for Lorna’s vocals to build on and exploit using her vocal range from growl to pure soprano. With an outing of Mr Sistabish from the hotly anticipated fourth album due out this Summer, we had funky Cherry Picking, and Mercy – the live track from Storytellers Daughter. Tonight melded into the music adventure Living Colour, Stevie Wonder and with Denny Ilett entering the fold adding another layer of guitar as he played with Jules they were having fun. This made Northsyde’s signature cover Whipping Post rather special for their first trip down the M4 to Bristol. The interplay between Jules and Denny was unforgettable in its majesty. What a start to a night dominated by vocals that soar above the band. Short break, and Sari Schorr and The Engine room filled the Lantern with blues that rock with the dynamic energy and power of charisma being shared across the audience so that everyone is touched by the gentle dignity that is Sari Schorr.
No gentle warm up with Sari and her band, she hit the ground running and the tension power and sheer beauty of live music just kept coming. The set list was dominated by tracks from her critically acclaimed debut album Force Of Nature. The album title perfectly describes Sari’s voice it is a true force of nature. Sari leaps into the vocals shaping and building the lyrics, every song she has a tale that you want to follow. Yes, she has confidence in the lyrics and her vocal prowess, more importantly, is her unwavering confidence and joy with the Engine Room the band that surrounds her. With Innes Sibun on guitar, we are in for a pyrotechnic display, controlled and wild and cool under the pressure of the amp blowing during the first outing of Black Betty tonight. With no guitar on stage, it was Anders Olinder’s keys that seamlessly took over with chords that filled the Lantern. The Engine Room are an organic force that works around the demands of the song and Sari, with a rhythm section that fills out the melodies with textures as the two Kevin’s collaborate, O’Rourke on drums and Jeffries in charge of the bass line.
Sari Schorr opened with Ain’t Got No Money the set continued to build and flow, with a preview of what is to come in the highly anticipated second album we heard Cat & Mouse, a highlight of the set and really whets the appetite for more Sari live and recorded. No subject is taboo for Sari, with Domestic Abuse explored without judgement with emotionally charged Damn The Reason. With Sari, the voice is an emotionally charged instrument combined with theatrical movements of hands and swirling dance steps the tension builds as though you are listening through Sari’s whole being. Heroin and addiction is explored with Aunt Hazel and we visit Oklahoma. Closing with Ordinary Life, Sari in the introduction praises her musicians, record label but above all the audiences that gives her the stage to sing from. Ordinary lives are anything but ordinary, with the melody that is gentler and at times Sari sings A Capella with a vulnerability as we are all special we are all looking to find our true potential. Sari with the Engine Room has definitely found hers we want to hear that voice perform over and over again. The interpretation of every song is special full of energy if languid with pathos and Innes guitar matches the mood wild and reflective he is always entertaining and his solo lead breaks are a feat to behold every time.
The encore, was Black Betty as we should have heard it the first time, with the stupendous Innes Sibun solo written by him and with the darkness of vocal tone Black Betty is reworked and always a Sari spectacular and now her signature number. Tonight we heard high-octane blues of the highest quality and what a voice, what a guitarist to have both in the same band takes blues-rock to a different level.
Bristol Lantern shining on Singing Divas Northsyde & Sari Schorr, once again Bristol Jazz and Blues Festival delivers music that is special.
BD:Hi Sari hope you are well, thanks for taking the time to speak to Bluesdoodles, we spoke last year on the release of Force of Nature, and your tour now you are back in the studio and Deja Vue about to tour the UK again.
SS: Thank you for listening to me and supporting music. Everything is going so fast. I am trying to slow down and savour every moment. The reality is I am having too much fun. Last year there was so much pressure with the release of our first album. Now I am doing it all over again definitely trying to relax more and enjoy the process of making my second album. I have a good label with Manhaton and a phenomenal band so I am determined to enjoy the ride. I do believe that everything has a time and place and part of your destiny to get involved with certain projects so grabbing the pleasure of every opportunity I say “get on board, see you wherever the train goes” BD: Sounds like lyrics of a blues song. SS: Laughing, let’s get together and write a blues song you never know where it will go.
BD: Before we talk lyrics, songs and touring let’s turn to the important dogs in your life, how are they back in Brooklyn?
SS: I will tell them that Aunty Liz in Wales sends her love. BD: Othello wags his tail in delight, sending a doodle woof to your three girls. SS: They are great, not eaten any furniture for a few months. When I get the suitcase out, they think they are going as well to the dog park or store somewhere exciting, they cannot imagine I would go anywhere without them. When they see the suitcases they look sad, Sophie sat in the suitcase shivering it was horrible. I am always really homesick until I am at the airport them I am looking forward to the adventure about to unfold.
BD: What were the highlights last year on the road with the Engine Room singing your distinctive blues-rock sound.
SS: Highlights, for me it is just the feeling of being on the road with this band working hard. The band are always enthusiastic, positive and ready giving one-hundred percent. We all care about each other, we are like a string family. The highlight is sharing our music, it is brilliant to be part of making the music live it can be a challenge but I know they have got my back. When I need a boost they understand, when I am exhausted they build me up. Travelling all over the world singing along to our songs brings tremendous rewards. Innes and I smile at each other as we see people singing along. It is so fantastic and humbling to see people embracing the album it is a sign that the music has touched them. There is a video of Trish singing in her car, Black Betty connected with this through the power of social media and felt so honoured.
BD: Having performed the songs from Force Of Nature live do you have a personal favourite and why?
SS: Favourite, I love singing every track on the set list, with the exception of Black Betty that still scares the life out of me. The look of the set list varies depending on my mood, kick up the tempo with Demolition Man or cooling down the pace with Ordinary Lives. It is the diversity of the tracks that makes them so much fun to play live, they never get boring for the band to play we love them every time. BD: Why does Black Betty Scare You? SS: To do it right there is a lot of emotion, have to sing by taking it on, it is a painful song. I feel that pain when I sing my version of Black Betty. You have to go deep, I feel exhausted by the end of the performance. Innes has written a middle section, a magnificent piece of music makes me cry, for me it’s the highlight of the song. Some nights I feel that I have not got the strength to sing Black Betty, Innes says okay, then I know I can just to hear his guitar. The melody is bright, the words dark they don’t quite match that is what makes Leadbelly great. The music is accessible to people and then if they wish can delve deeper into the lyrical content. It does not require you to do that, but if you intellectually want to the lyrics take you on an emotional journey.
BD:Back in The Studio with Mike Vernon producing the sequel what is exciting you about the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Force of Nature? What does Mike as your producer add to the sound and shape of the album?
SS: This time we are in the UK recording at The Riverside studio, it is awesome, with lots of the vocals being recorded in the same booth as Robert Plant, inspirational. Logistically it was easier to bring Mike from Spain. Majority has been recorded. The sound is a continuation, development from Force of Nature. It has been awesome recording as a live album in the studio true Engine Room sound. I am off to Germany to write a couple of songs. We have no working title it is just The Album, we keep listening to the eight tracks already done and cannot decide which one it should be the title track! Every time we listen we say this one, no this one we will get there. We wrote the majority of the songs together when we spent time together in Spain the sound is more representative of The Engine Room sound, showing what the band is capable off. Those boys are fierce.
BD: What does Mike bring, is he part of the band or more of an overseer knitting the sound together? SS: Both he can step back, and be an integral part of the band. When searching how to treat a certain section of a song, example the keyboard groove, Mike will conduct, singing the part shaping the groove as a member of the band. On other occasions he will give an overview. He is the kindest most patient man, he never gets rattled he gives us plenty of room always. Then when we are struggling he will throw in an idea, what if you approached it this way. Mike has no ego, which is amazing when you consider what he has done and who he has worked with over the decades. He could have a big ego, be really demanding but no he is the most giving, generous of producers creating an open creative environment everyone can relax in. I always feel I am in the best hands, allowing us to experiment, push the boundaries. Mike is quick to tell us when we go too far bringing us back and preventing us from doing anything too obvious.
BD: Will you be showcasing songs from the new album as part of the 2017 set list. Are they different from Force of Nature if so how?
SS: Sadly, not yet, may do one in the sound check of this tour. The problem is someone will record and put up on You Tube before the record comes out.
BD: Last time we finished with what your dream band would be this time – what are you listening to and what Sari Schorr track would you liked covered and by whom?
SS: It has to be Robert Plant, which track after some consideration Ain’t Got No Money. I would so love to do a duet with him as well. At the moment I am loving my label mates King King, the music is so uplifting, it inspires me and I adore Alan he is such a great talent.
Blues Joins The Jazz Party in Bristol Festival 2017
From the 16th – 19th March Colston Hall is buzzing with lovers of live music with a mix of Jazz and a sprinkling of shimmering Blues.
People flock to the Lantern, Main Hall and while they wait can sip a coffee, enjoy refreshment to the acts playing in the foyer. Opportunity for Bristolians to meet friends and gain a musical Spring to their ears. Did I mention dressing up in finery and Jiving it all happens over this joyous weekend.
If you think you know jazz and blues, you’re probably wrong! If you love music, you’ll love Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival. We’ve dipped into every genre and traversed the globe to bring you a line-up dedicated to the incredible musical legacy of jazz and blues.
A Trio of Blues Acts will excite with the energy and musicianship.
Thursday 16th March – The Lantern: Colston Hall
Double Bill: Sari Schorr & The Engine Room and Northsyde
New Yorker Sari Schorr with the her Engine Room is taking the world by a storm. Her Album Force Of Nature. With a voice that jolted legendary blues producer Mike Vernon (think Mac, Clapton and Bowie) out of retirement, it’s not hard to see why. The Engine Room is a musical powerhouse featuring the legendary blues guitarist Innes Sibun.
Northsyde has a vocalist Lorna, a true singing phenomenon and a Storytellers Daughter fronting the band. Completing the Northsyde quartet guitarist, Jules Fothergill and longtime friend Left-handed Ian Mauricio’s unusual style (he strings the bass upside down) combined with Haydn Doyle’s forceful grooves give the band a sound unlike anyone else on the rock and blues circuit today. Left-handed Mauricio’s unusual style (he strings the bass upside down) combined with Doyle’s forceful grooves give the band a sound unlike anyone else on the rock and blues circuit today. Bluesdoodles loved Story Tellers Daughter.
Robben Ford five-time Grammy nominated stage and studio legend back to his earliest roots as a performer, playing blues on hs current album Into The Sun; showcasing his distinctive guitar style that ensures Robben stands out from the crowd this weekend in Bristol.
What a stunning combination the voice of Mud Morganfield the first-born son of Muddy Waters – undisputed King of Blues – was naturally drawn to music from an early age but it wasn’t until three years after his father’s death that he decided to pursue it as a career. He’s been wowing audiences worldwide with his charismatic brand of Chicago blues ever since. Mud is a tribute to his father’s memory and a fantastic songwriter in his own right. He’ll spend much of 2017 in the studio working on a new album, but not before doing us the honour of gracing our stage with his talent.
The guitar of Kirk Fletcher, creating licks, riffs and lead breaks infused with blues and darkened with soul. Raised on gospel and R&B, but equally influenced by the likes of Hendrix and Steely Dan, a rich mix of sounds informs the depth and quality of tone you can hear in both his guitar and his voice today.
Kirk spent three years as lead guitarist for legendary blues-rock band The Fabulous Thunderbirds before going solo and has now released one live and three studio albums with a fourth hotly anticipated and on its way. We’re extremely excited to welcome him.
“Kirk is hands-down one of the best blues guitarists in the world.”Joe Bonamassa
Sari Schorr Force of Nature returns in 2017 to Britain. This will delight the phalanx of fans she has made with the release of Sari Schorr & The Engine Room’s critically acclaimed debut album “A Force of Nature“. The Sari Schorr & The Engine Room played a number of festivals and venues during 2016 and now Sari is pleased to announce her upcoming 2017 UK Tour dates as follows:
“We’re really looking forward to coming back to the UK to perform songs from the new album to our lovely British blues fans,” says Sari. “British blues audiences are the best. They are very passionate about their music.”
Sari Schorr Force of Nature Returns in 2017 Back touring the UK with her band The Engine Room featuring Innes Sibun delighting her fans at a venue near you. They will definitely sweep you up in a blues force of Nature. The music makes you laugh, cry, smile and above all wraps you in a warmth of a Force of Nature that is good to you.
Buy your tickets now via Bands In Town – http://bandsintown.com/SariSchorr
Pick of the Albums Reviewed – 2016:
July – Sept 2016
Bluesdoodles listens to music recorded and live from across the genres. Bluesdoodles reviews all albums received with an open-mind and will always look for the elements that make the music stand out from the crowd!. The albums we award 10 doodle paws too, for us have a special connection, and acknowledge like all reviewers our scoring is subjective. Between 1st July and 30th September 2016 Bluesdoodles listened to numerous albums and reviewed 27 albums that reflect the depth and breadth of music being recorded in studios around the world. Remember albums not included on the lists are still excellent; definitely worth listening to and purchasing especially go see music live at venues near you support music and the artists who travel the roads so we can hear music full of passion and the special ingredient of a live performance.
This is the third quarter of 2016 and all of these will be in with a shout for the Bluesdoodles Dozen of 2016.
The place was packed and hot with excited anticipation as The Tunnels welcomed The Engine Room on stage. The opening instrumental set the seen as The Engine room set down grooves threaded with deep blues. Flecks of funk and the energy that would build throughout the stunning set we were to experience over the next two hours. Innes Sibun from the very first note to the last confirmed what a stellar guitarist he is with tasty blues construction overlaid with the Sibun magic.
Then with a shining energy infused whirl Sari stepped onto centre stage, The Tunnels lit up with the effervescent sexy presence of a women who sings the blues with passion at its heart and controlled emotion. The venue was fizzing with pure enjoyment of music that was hitting the high notes and sending shivers down our collective backbones.
Sari’s vocals added that temptress layer of lyrics unfolding on top of the depth of The Engine Room. This is a tight musical unit that bounce of each other’s energies. The rhythms are deep and full from drummer Kevin O’Rourke and Kevin Jefferies on bass then into the mix the keys from Anders Olinder with tantalising delights of chords that add that something special to the melodies that compliment and build the excitement as Sari’s vocals take over.
The whole set was magnificent, strong, powerful and no subject is taboo from Aunt Hazel, with powerful words around the draw of addiction sung with Sari’s passion, empathy and heartfelt belief that you can address these issues openly and in a non-judgmental way. Then we are enthralled as the domestic abuse is explored through the medium of Sari’s skills as a singer and songwriter with Damn The Reason, both from her debut album that takes your breath away with its majesty; A Force of Nature.
Into the mix Sari throws in classics that she makes her own from Willie Dixon’s I Just Want To Make Love, it is the tonal range and the shaping of the lyrics that makes this stand out once again it is Sari’s vocals that own the song and draw the audience in. Stormy Monday, was delivered in a sweaty Tunnels and we wanted more. Leadbelly’s, Black Betty saw the twin-neck guitar given and airing as Innes played the licks that curled around the melody as we waited for Sari’s vocals to twist this classic and we were all feeling the torment of Black Betty. The energy was electric, the delivery the darkest swampy blues.
The performance was more than Sari, more than the Engine Room it was the combination of the authority of the whole including the entertaining conversation Sari had with the audience; building rapport and letting us get to know the person behind the vocals. Whether discussing the minty fresh
towels as they moved into Kiss Me, the travails of cancelled gigs and flights to pick up with a tour that led to the writing of Oklahoma. Hard times, her love of her three pit bulls and the song written about them included in the set at the request of Kevin. Why? Its glorious bass line.
We also enjoyed Sari playing ‘guitar’ unplugged behind Innes, as he played another glorious solo, this was the fun Sari instilled into show as she played tambourine, keys Sari and the band were having fun ad they definitely wanted everyone to have fun as well.
All too soon two hours had passed in a haze of sweaty passionate music, for the encore Sari bought the tempo down with the last track of her album Ordinary Lives. Sari is no Ordinary singer she is special, The Tunnels were purring in delight as Sari smiled her radiant smile that would melt the hardest of hearts, she left the stage. This may have been her first time in Bristol but it will not be her last.
Manhaton Records is pleased to announce the debut album “A Force of Nature” from one of the most exciting Blues rock singers, Sari Schorr. Released in the UK and Europe on Friday 2nd September 2016, the album is produced by the legendary Mike Vernon whose credits include Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall & the Blues Breakers, David Bowie, Savoy Brown, Chicken Shack, Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Christine McVie and Ten Years After.
In January 2015, Mike received a Keeping the Blues Alive award at the prestigious International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. The award was not the only highlight of the weekend for Mike. The second highlight occurred when Mike witnessed the performance of one of the most amazing female blues singers he’d seen in years – SARI SCHORR.
The album delivers hard-driving Blues-Rock, influenced by the late ’60s British Blues movement. Sari (who trained as an opera singer) mixes Blues, Rock, and Soul with concrete melodies and poetic lyrics to striking effect.
Mike was so knocked out, he came out of semi-retirement to produce her new album. Already a consummate songwriter in her own right, with tracks on major labels, Sari has written or co-written almost all the songs on the debut album. Released by Manhaton Records (home of Robin Trower and King King) the new album features guitarists Walter Trout (John Mayall, Canned Heat), Innes Sibun (Robert Plant), Oli Brown (RavenEye) and keyboardist John Baggott (Massive Attack, Portishead).
New York-based Sari Schorr initially gained prominence throughout the blues world after several years of touring the US and Europe with Blues legend, Joe Louis Walker and renowned guitarist, Popa Chubby. Schorr was recently inducted into the New York Blues Hall of Fame.
“My songs are rooted in the blues and honouring that long tradition is important to me,” reflects Sari. “My song-writing draws heavily on contrasting melodic hooks with aching harmonies. I spend a lot of time working over and rewriting my lyrics. I rely heavily on imagery and enjoy using double-entendres that are entertaining to those who catch them. My influences are many and various and include Son House, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Lead Belly, Bessie Smith, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Freddie King, Robert Johnson, B.B. King, Peter Green, Robert Plant, Martha Velez and Bob Dylan.”
Stop In The Name Of Love – Sari Schorr
Track from Sari’s new album “A Force Of Nature”
out on August 17th on Manhaton Records
Sari’s new band, The Engine Room, features stunning British guitarist Innes Sibun (former Robert Planet guitarist). “The Engine Room truly is a remarkable band,” says Sari. “Something magical happens when we’re on stage together. We’re fuelled further by the audiences’ reaction and everything’s possible. I love touring and enjoy the privilege of meeting so many like-minded people who share our love of the Blues.”