Sarah Jane Morris at the Stereo Society
Sarah Jane Morris at the Stereo Society
Sarah Jane Morris’s Chronology to 2013
For the years 2003-2013
2003 saw the release of the Love and Pain album followed by tours of Italy, the US, Paris, Germany and Canada. This included the Montreal Jazz Festival, where the second night was recorded for a future release, and theVancouver Folk Festival with Kevin Armstrong – performed alongside the wonderful Billy Bragg, Ani Difranco and Michael Franti.
It also saw Sarah Jane move back to London after eight years in the countryside. It was good to be back where it was all happening!
A series of memorable concerts, starting off with the London Purcell Rooms to launch the UK release of Live at Montreal and followed by dates with John Harle arranging the music of Harry Cox, the Norfolk folk singer and more dates in Italy and Germany.
A fabulous night at Ronnie Scott’s featuring many special guests from Sarah Jane’s musical past, including John Glyn and Richard Avison from The Republic, Matt Fox and Glen Gordon from The Happy End, Terry Edwards from Test Department, Annie Whitehead (from the days when I sang in her band), Richard Coles from the Communards, Roy Dodds, Kwaku Dzidzornu, Dave O’Higgins, Matt Backer, Kevin Armstrong, Neill MacColl, Henry Thomas, Martyn Barker, David Coulter and the wonderful Molly Parkin, who acted as MC. It was a night Sarah Jane will always remember, with two of her best friends, Kathryn and Julie, flying from New York for it and several fans coming from Italy.
And then, New Year with Nick The Nightfly and his Big Band at The Blue Note, Milan.
A return to the theatre, rehearsing, performing and recording the new opera Ballad of Jamie Allen, libretto by Tom Pickard and composed by John Harle.
And more activity in Italy: concerts with the Annie Whitehead-led project Soup Songs, recording the concert in Villa Cellimontana, Rome for extra tracks on the After All These Years album, guesting with Nick the Nightfly (one of the best DJs in Italy working for Radio Monte Carlo) and his Big Band around Italy and Sicily, gigging at the Blue Note, Milan.
Then flying to London and New York to record and finish the August album. She then duetted for the first time with American guitarist Tony Smith at Pizza Express, Dean Street, recording a track for his up-and-coming album.
Continuing with concerts in Brighton, Birmingham, Norfolk, Milan and, finally – at Ronnie Scotts.
Sarah Jane performs at the San Remo Song Festival with Simona Bencini, following this with many more concerts with Simona throughout the year including at the Taormina Ampitheatre in Sicily.
Summer: A trip to Los Angeles to see husband David in The Blackrider and to see drama school pals Sarah Jackson and Julian Sands. A wonderful family holiday, followed by an appearance at the Italian film and TV awards to sing Blue Valentine, and a summer tour of Italy with the band, and with Simona Bencini the Orchestra Sinfonica di Lecce in August singing the music of Cole Porter and Gershwin.
September At the Bloomsbury Theatre, London to celebrate the release of After All These Years album and 25 years in the business with a band drawn from the different bands Sarah Jane has sung with over all those years. Brass from The Republic, Test Department, Loose Tubes, The Happy End, The Annie Whitehead Band, with special guests Sandy Dillon and Ian Shaw on vocals, Alastair Gavin, Martyn Barker, Kevin Armstrong, Henry Thomas, Neill MacColl, Roy Dodds
My first tour of Austria was organised by the wonderful Manfred and his friends, and family (seen left) who helped us pack out the concerts and gave us such an amazing tim
Many UK and Italian concerts throughout the year including a visit to the new Vortex in Dalston, Burnham Market, Oneten inBirmingham, Chipping Norton Theatre, Ludlow and many more.
July: In Canada at Vancouver Folk Festival courtesy of the wonderful Dugg Simpson with the amazing MacColl brothers, Calum and Neill. What a joy to hear them play and sing! The highlight of the festival for all three of us was discovering the talents of Hawksley Workman, the wonderful Canadian singer songwriter. The glorious Michael Charland and Trevor helped organise an extra concert at Rhime in Vancouver and, as ever, looked after us in style.
December: The release of Angels at Christmas (songs written by Sarah Jane’s dear friend Kathryn Williams from New York) on the web site and many concerts of the songs from the album in Italian churches with Danilo Rai on piano. What a wonderful moving experience!
Winter: Three nights at Sarah Jane’s favourite Milan venue, The Blue Note, followed by Sicily for the first time in a few years – it was lovely to be back. Singing with The New Trolls and PFM in a huge concert in Genoa, having recorded two tracks for their best of CD last Summer.
Spring: Plays the International Woman’s Day Festival in London.
Several concerts in Italy with Dominic Miller. Played the part of Mere Ubu in David Thomas’s adaptation of Alfred Jarry’s play Ubu Roi at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London with Otis playing many small parts.
Summer: Recorded the soundtrack to Bring me The Head of Ubu Roi.
Then recording the new solo album, Where It Hurts, at the Dairy Studios in Brixton with Dominic Miller, Tony Remy, Alastair Gavin, Henry Thomas and Martyn Barker. Then at the Hay Literary Festival with Dominic Miller, selling out the Guardian Tent and appearing on the Mariella Frostrup show for Sky Arts singing one of our co-writes, You’re Really Nowhere At All. Then playing at Ronnie Scott’s for the first time in many years for three nights performing songs from the up and coming albums, Migratory Birds with Marc Ribot and Where It Hurts, the new album with the band .
2009 (in Sarah Jane’s words)
This was the year of my divorce coming through, my 50th birthday and my move out of London to St Leonards on Sea. My 50th I celebrated by inviting 25 of my best female friends for supper, which was cooked by my dear friend Jacqui Pickles.
Mike Thorne my wonderful producer friend and his wife Leila leant me their London apartment in Notting Hill Gate in which to hold the party and I had such a wonderful evening and I felt so loved! Earlier that day Jacqui had booked me into her hairdressers to have my hair cut short and I came out feeling and looking like a new woman!
A few weeks later having moved to the seaside (I was living just across the road to the sea) and living 5 minutes walk from my best friend Angie and her partner Len, I found myself with the band at The Blue Note in Milan to launch the ‘Where It Hurts ‘ album in Italy. Dominic, Tony, Henry and Martyn. A matter of days later I was singing at the 606 (one of our favorite venues) and I met the man I hope to spend the rest of my days with. Where It Hurts had us touring all over Europe and the UK and had great reviews.
2010 (in Sarah Jane’s words)
St Leonards was one of the best places I have lived and to date I have lived in 36 different houses and flats. In March we moved to Hastings and lived in a Tudor cottage in the heart of The Old Town. What a wonderful atmosphere and what creative people we got to know!
In June my friend Angie discovered that her cancer had come back with a vengeance. She and her longterm partner Len Shelley, a wonderful artist, had one of the most memorable and magical weddings I have ever been to. It was in the woods at the bottom of her yoga teachers garden in Winchelsea, near the sea. This was where Angie kept her bees and this was where she wanted to live. Tony Remy and I wrote a song that we sung at the wedding .
Unfortunately a matter of weeks later Angie started radiotherapy and it was back and forth to Maidstone Hopsital. It was during this period that Len appeared to be ill himself. We found out he had pancreatic and liver cancer and it was advanced. Things happened so quickly and before long Len and Angie had a hospice at home. We all as their friends muddled together to help facilitate this and Angies’ wonderful mother moved in. Very sadly Len died a matter of weeks before Angie and before the end of the year, we had lost two wonderful friends and talented artists.
I wrote a song for Angie about our last night together called ‘Heaven is Right Here With You’ which one day I will record. Angie was such a huge inspiration to me and there is a huge hole in my life where she once was. In November we organized a memorial concert for Angie and Len at St Marys in The Castle and so many of Angie’s friends were there, including her gorgeous and talented son Rufus. Alas it was to be the worst night of snow for years and so many people, including musicians coming from London and Brighton, could not get there. As much as I loved living in Hastings, without Angie it wasn’t the same! It is a place I will always love and return to!
Most of the year was spent doing concerts in Italy and UK and Austria with the band.
2011 (in Sarah Jane’s words)
In January we did our usual sell out Ronnie Scotts shows and throughout the year many concerts in Europe and UK.
As my son had finished GSCEs it seemed the right time to move to my partner Mark’s house in Kent. Our garden was a graveyard and our neighbours a real community. In the Summer we had many more concerts around the world and much songwriting.
It was wonderful to reunite with Jimmy Somerville for an 80s revival at The Brighton Dome, dueting Don’t Leave Me This Way on the same bill as Boy George, my friend of old. In September I returned to my old haunt Brixton, with a concert at Mass in the crypt at St Matthews Church, with many special guests, including Ashley Slater from Freak Power.
In December we launched Cello Songs in Italy and performed three nights at the House of Jazz in Rome. We did many TV and radio shows including Christmas at The Vatican, where Enrico, Dominic Miller and I performed Fast Car with an orchestra as well as many International stars, such as Dionne Warwick, who stood next to me when we were introduced to the Pope.
I shook his hand whilst the others kissed his ring. It took all year to not miss Hastings on a daily basis but we are so pleased we moved to the countryside.
2012 (in Sarah Jane’s words)
In January we did our usual sell out shows at Ronnie Scotts with the Fallen Angel Band. In February Tony Remy and myself guested with Noemi at San Remo Song festival with Enrico Melozzi conducting the orchestra.
In May 2012 I got married to Mark Pulsford, the love of my life, at the 606 where we had met 4 years earlier. We had a humanist wedding and many wonderful friends and family came and shared this special occasion with us. Earlier that day we had an intimate ceremony in the garden of my brother and sister in law, for both our mothers, who could not manage being in a small jazz club for health reasons. Antonio Forcione, Ian Shaw, Tony Remy, Tim Cansfield, Liam Genockey, Henry Thomas, Jennifer Maidman and Annie Whitehead all entertained us with their wonderful gifts of music and thanks also to Steve at 606 and his staff, we had the best night of our life! My good friends Julie and Kathryn came from as far afield as New York.
Two weeks before the wedding we launched the Cello Songs Project at the Hay Festival and later that year in November we launched it in London at The Purcell Rooms, in Bristol and in Southampton, with the Celestial Cello Quartet and Jenny Adejeyan and a star studded choir with Tony Remy, Henry Thomas, Enrico Melozzi and Michael Rosen. My son Otis duetted on Bob Dylans I Shall Be Released. Thank you all so much for your support for this.
Just before the Cello Songs concert I was informed that our dear, dear friend Reg Simmonds had died of cancer. The evening was dedicated to him. Reg has been an amazingly inspirational man and loved Jazz with a passion. He and his wife Deidre part lived in London and Burnham Market, in Norfolk and was determined to educate the friends he had made in Burnham Market, in what was and what wasn’t good in music. He organized so many concerts for the likes of myself, Ian Shaw, Liane Carrol and always turned the concerts into raising money for deserved causes. Henry and I sang I Shall Be Released at Reg’s send-off along with many other musical friends. Because of his passion for Mercedes cars Lord Wont You Buy Me A Mercedes Benz was what we all sung as they carried him out of the church. Reg Simmonds the world is a sadder emptier place without you!
2013 (in Sarah Jane’s words)
January started with the usual sellout Ronnie Scotts shows with the Fallen Angel Band.
Early in the year I took part in a performance of The Vagina Monologues in a gorgeous yet tiny theatre in Margate raising money for charity.
In May Antonio and I went to Vienna to play at Porgy and Bess and it was lovely to see Betty and Roman once again. As a great deal of my concerts are in Italy which at this time was without a government and a Pope, work dried up for us all for a while.
Good things always come out of difficult times and a lot of writing took place getting ready for the incredibly busy June/July/August/Sept and Oct. I played duo concerts with Tony Remy in Italy and Glasgow International Jazz festival. Through the Summer I played many concerts in UK and Italy with my band and In August Antonio and I started to record the album we hope to release next year and in September we sold out three nights at Ronnie Scotts with the wonderful addition of Jenny Adejayan on cello, Adriano Adewale on percussion and Matheus Nova on acoustic bass guitar, pictured below. In November we launched Pledge Music which is a way we hope fans and friends can help empower us to make the next album.