The bluesy vocals of Zoe Schwarz are seriously special. Ask anyone who heard her in action at Forest Arts at the weekend.
Add the mellow guitar work of her husband Rob Koral plus the considerable talents of double bass player Steve Thompson, drummer Paul Robinson and pianist Hilary Cameron and you have a jazz quintet to die for.
This is not surprising. Robinson played with Nina Simone for several years, Cameron is a sought after keyboard virtuosos in London and New York and teaches jazz piano at the Guildhall School, of Music and Thompson is a jazzers jazzer , a prize catch for any band.
The Schwarz/Koral quintet is just one of a series of musical configurations on offer from the Dorset-based musos. Ask them nicely and they’ll also appear as a duo, trio, quartet, sextet and even switch seamlessly into their other guise as The Baddest Blues Band Ever. However at Forest Arts it was jazz and it really was “Nice!!!”
With wonderful musical interplay from the band, the audience was treated to a programme that mixed jazz standards with self-penned material and some old favourites.
There were classics like Pennies From Heaven, Let’s Fall in Love, Sweet Georgia Brown and Moon River.
There was also incontrovertible proof that the blues is a constant inspiration with number’s like Cream’s We’re Going Wrong, Bobby Parker’s Blues Get Off My Shoulder and BB King’s Everyday I Have The Blues and The Thrill Is Gone.