Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sarah Jane Morris at Ronnie Scott's

First ever trip to Ronnie Scott's last Friday and what a treat it tuned out to be. Firstly the venue is great - it's reasonably small and intimate so that no matter where your table is you are close to the action. We'd made a priority booking and so got a table right at the very front. There's waitress service so we were able to order a bottle of wine and settle back.

Sarah Jane Morris used to sing with the Communards and throughout the show wore her socialist principles on her sleeve - Promised Land being a good example. What a voice - deep, sonorous and melodic. She sang a number of her own compositions which were fine and dandy but it was her three interpretations of other people's songs that raised the show from entertaining to memorable. These were John Martyn's I Don't Want to Know, Tracy Chapman's Fast Car, and Sting's Fragile. The latter in particular raised the hairs on the back of my neck. She is quite a sight: a mop of unruly red hair, layers of gipsy clothes and accessories, and a loads of expressive movement . She was I suspect ravishing in her day. Her spirit is still very much intact - notwithstanding a recent divorce after 25 years of marriage - an event she spoke about ruefully and amusingly. She was accompanied by a super cool and super tight band - with Sting's occasional sideman Dominic Miller on guitar (looking like a more languid William Dafoe) and a guy on bass who looked like BB King's younger and slimmer brother. Great show.