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SAORI JO Home 2:17 AM (2010)

Saori Jo

The young French singer songwriter Saori Jo is the latest up and coming young lady to catch the roving eye of Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson. Her presence has been one of the highlights of recent Tull tours. In particular when she is joined on stage by Tull - Anderson providing sublime flute accompaniment on Fairy World, and Martin Barre some supremely fluid blues lines on Fellow Travellers.

Home 2.17 A.M., her debut album - which runs at a very generous 60 minutes by today's standards - features both these tracks. Unfortunately, while Ian Anderson plays on Fairy World (there's also a bonus live version with Tull) Martin Barre is absent from the studio version of Fellow Travellers. And with the blues guitar part stripped away it's a completely different number.

But while the Tull presence is a bonus - John O'Hara also adds accordion on Love Is Just Another Word, and there's a wonderfully quirky piano based version of Witches Promise - it by no means casts a shadow over what is an excellent debut in its own right.

Difficult to pigeon hole, Saori Jo falls somewhere between Paloma Faith and Kate Bush, and while never deviating too far from the mainstream there's an enchanting quirkiness about the album as it moves from Bush / Amos piano territory to dabble in elements of European folk, blues and jazz.

Supported in the main, as she was live, by her guitarist and muse Miguel Ruiz, Home 2.17A.M. is a real grower, and Saori Jo is probably the best new talent to emerge from France in recent times. In many ways, it's perhaps unfortunate her vocals are so anglicised, but that's just a reflection of the global nature of the record industry.

Her experience with Tull will have been invaluable, and Home 2.17 A.M. is great building block for a very promising talent.


Review by Pete Whalley


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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