Antonio Forcione &
Sarah Jane Morris
Sunday, March 12th, 2017
Reviewer: Reg Webb
”NOT IN MY NAME", screamed Sarah Jane Morris, will live with me for a while.
Nothing in the rather bland JazzFM YouTube clip publicising this gig had prepared me for that. It could of course be really smart marketing to undersell your artists so that those who make it to the gig will be even more impressed. It could be, but I doubt it.
There is not much to be said for ignorance. But one thing that can be said for it is that you often get surprised.
I was familiar with some of Antonio Forcione's work, but I had never heard him live. I knew next to nothing about Sarah Jane Morris. After this performance, correctly or not, I feel that I know quite a lot about her.
More actor and story teller, Sarah Jane uses her extraordinary voice to communicate. She is one of the most dramatically forceful human beings whose presence I've been lucky enough to be in. Of her, it certainly cannot be said, as declared W. B. Yeats when in a bad mood, "The best lack all conviction".
Sarah Jane is conviction personified. If you're worried about the political nature of that conviction, nobody is going to be haranguing you about the ‘commanding heights of the economy’ etc. Her politics as presented here was all humanitarian, rooted in the suffering,
obscenity of suffering, displacement and death meted out to innocent bystanders. She puts across her commitment to that, and personal biographical stories from her life with a musician's command of pitch and an actor's command of dynamics. If you weren't moved, someone should phone an undertaker on your behalf.
And so to Antonio Forcione. As a practicing musician, I admire technique. What I admire even more is technique put to musically expressive purposes. For a duo, in an age addicted to drums, you have to be able to maintain pulse for we ‘groove’ addicts.
Antonio makes use of the body of the instrument, scrubbing the strings, with very physical and rhythmically accurate hammer-ons, to underpin the singer and drive the song along. I loved his use of harmonics too. This was electro-acoustic guitar playing of the highest order. I hope guitar players will forgive any inaccurate terminology, but I'm sure you get my drift.
So Steve Wright maintains his 100% record of bringing concerts to the Arts Centre which are better than at least this audient was expecting.
Meanwhile, Chris Secker gets a great balance in circumstances where, I imagine, there's a lot of potential for feedback with this kind of guitar. Never believe that anything about a gig like this is effortless, because it isn't.
Compared To What (Fallen Angel Records) is the duo’s debut album, featuring originals and some very worthwhile reworkings of other people's songs, like the title track for example.
Wonderful! Thank you.