Susie Arioli ain’t new to these parts …
From her humble beginnings jammin’ with The Stephen Barry Band to her meteoric rise with Jordan Officer, Susie has earned her place in Montrealers hearts.
Susie took her ‘ new ‘ act to the stage of Club Soda Friday evening as part of The Montreal International Jazz Festival. New meaning – sans Officer et avec Jim Bland. Arioli, along with her band, performing many songs from her new album entitled ‘ Spring’.
From the start with songs such as ‘ Mean to Me’, ‘Caring Kind‘ and ‘Loverboy’, Susie’s fanbase were aware – Arioli still has those ‘golden chops’. They were also aware – Arioli still has the quit wit and realness which many artists lack at this stage of their careers. The non-fans, the newbies – getting a taste of that unique contrast Arioli possesses. Street-wise woman and elegance. A refreshing persona ‘live’ and a voice alive with the sounds of music from yesteryear.
‘Time After Time’, ‘Me Myself and I’ and the pair of French songs ‘Je Bois’ and ‘Un Jour La Difference’ – distancing Susie from the Beyonces and Rhiannas of the world.
In a music world filled with Pop songs, Rock songs and Country stars, Arioli sings and writes the songs that can make the whole world cry. Songs such as ‘ Husbands and Wives‘ can also make the Jazz Festival world laugh. Arioli asking the crowd before the start; ‘ Who here has fantasized about cheating?’ Guitarist Jim Bland – ‘cheatin on Susie’ with guitar work so sensual, so easy – suddenly the entire room was fantasizing about cheating on someone. Arioli’s voice providing enough softness and juice to upend the atmosphere with sentimentality. Susie seems to choose these themes and classic melodies to deliver her passion for seduction then, as quick as a Dean Martin drink, Arioli injects a ‘Spring’ into the steps of the night. The title track from Arioli’s latest offering and an original composition, a profound signal that Susie will be on the list, very soon – as one of this Country’s top songwriters as well.
Al Mclean on Saxophone, without taking anything away from the band, perhaps the most important cog in the wheel within Arioli’s setlist. King – soothing and ear-popping. Adding and removing with an ease associated with hours of practice. Hours of feel. A delight and compliment to the equally adept handwork of Bland on Guitar. Arioli’s go to guys …
‘Dearest Darling’, the Bo Diddley cover from the album ‘Spring’ – giving life to the homestretch. A reserved beat provided by drummer Greg Ritchie. Restrained chaos allowing Arioli playfulness and fodder for the fans while Ritchie pushed and pulled them into a mesmerizing groove.
The entire set list – filled with glowing gems such as ‘Travelin’ Light‘, ‘Blue Skies’ and ‘Beyond the Sea’, donating range from Susie’s catalogue of originals and covers. Andy King on Trumpet combined with Paul Shrofel’s slick and tender fingers on keys, providing the canvas to one of Montreal’s greatest Jazz singers.
On this tour and at Club Soda, Arioli placing, for the first time – original compositions on the table. Blending deliciously with the standards Susie has become known for.
Safe to say – the elusive Juno Awards Susie has been nominated for are closer to her mantelpiece than before. Knowing Susie, once in her possession – those Junos will be part of the act, front and center as the butt of a joke.
Could it be any other way ?