Susie Arioli; Montreal’s ‘Dearest Darlin’. Jazz Festival Review

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. FIJM-d3--081

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 …

FIJM-d3--032‘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 ?

Visit Susie Here !

Visit Jazz Festival Here !


Buy The Album Here !
Buy The Album Here !

Lisa Simone – Just Like Mom ! ( Sorta) Montreal International Jazz Festival Review

Lisa Simone is as famous as her last song. 


The daughter of Nina Simone, the legendary singer, quickly made everyone forget who her Mom was. Place des Arts was buzzing with excitement as Lisa’s Montreal Jazz Festival two show debut came to an end on Thursday evening.  Lisa’s world was introduced with power !


‘My World’ – Lisa’s latest album, filled the room with tenderness, Soul and Rhythm and Blues. The songs, as beautiful as the legacy. Fresher than the genes and genetically fresh.

Commencing with the song ‘ All Is Well’, a blend of Lisa’s voice and the introduction of the band musically. What a band it was. Hervé Samb  ( guitars, piano, backing vocals), Reggie Washington ( bass, double bass, backing vocals) and Sonny Troupé (drums, percussions). A blend of chemistry as lethal as it is safe in the confines of a lab. R&B opened the doors wide for an audience who – for the most part, hearing and seeing Simone for the first time.  Without the energy exchange between stage and punters, it was up to the band to deliver and win the hearts over.

 ‘Child In Me’ FIJM-d1--294, ‘Autumn

Leaves’,  Ain’t Got No’  and ‘I Got Life’ was all that was needed for the audience to start the gas stove up and Lisa to turn up the velocity.  These four tunes introducing everyone to Lisa’s range. Gospel, R&B, Blues, Soul and Nina Simone. Comparisons cannot be made to Lisa’s legendary Mom yet they are inevitable. Distinctive notes and passion – true apples from the proverbial tree. Lisa proudly is Nina’s daughter

 The surprise of the evening (only to the non educated music fans in attendance) was the play of Hervé Samb on guitars. The man is a machine and obviously schooled in all genres. Fierce solos combined with feathery riffs throughout the night. A feel as beautiful as a woman’s touch. A perfect match to Lisa’s own hardness / softness.  Robinson, on Bass. Taupe on drums. A trio of players so unique, providing stability for Simone’s energy. Lisa, leaving the stage and ‘touring’ Place des Arts. Lisa – dancing physically and vocally all night long. Combined with a Joie de Vivre and feistnessiness inherited from her Mom, a sure-to-return staple of Montreal Jazz Festivals to come. Next time as a headliner …

Highlight of Night – ‘My World’ off the album ‘My World’

Visit Jazz Festival Here !

Visit Lisa Here !

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Nina Simone’s Daughter Lisa Falls close to the Tree …

Lisa Simone has a hard act to follow …

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Her Mom was acclaimed singer and activist Nina Simone. This ‘enormous shadow’ does not bother Lisa one bit.

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Please listen below to my chat with Lisa about her Mom, her experiences and her new album

‘My World’. 

Hear some great tunes from the album as well !

Lisa ? What’s up?


Visit Lisa Here !


Buy the Album Here !
Buy the Album Here !