Moving Irish Jazz-Pop With a lot of Emotion
Hamburger Morning Post
Sometimes it is simply good to experience a concert where someone stands on the stage purely for the love of music. Not because they are attracted by a quick buck, or some girlie thinks that three chords and a seductive smile is enough for a music career. No, simply an evening where despite the lack of a huge crowd, the music comes from the soul and touches the audience deeply and gets right under the skin, just like tonight with Jane O'Brien in the Stage Club.
A not quite so young singer/songwriter from Ireland who has lived in Hamburg for nearly two decades, O'Brien has gone through a variety of singing and band formations and has now obviously found her own music in a line-up with piano, bass and drums. Certainly thanks to the really good and sensitive musicians, Andreas Guenther, Karsten Koertling and Doerte Schueler, especially Guenther, the man on the grand piano, who time and again surprises with original licks and runs which he nonchalantly throws in.
Jane O'Brien describes her music as "cool Irishpop-jazz with a lot of emotion". And certainly the songs offer a lot more than a couple of pretty melodies decorated with jazz elements. For one thing her little stories take unexpected turns musically and stylistically again and again, ballads with folk, rock sounds with trip hop leanings. And then there's O'Brien's clear intense voice which takes the listener along with it from the very first note. Sometimes even in a small setting love produces really big music.
… It is the contradictions which make life what it is. Many of us would like to block out the fact that tragedy and humour, beauty and pain, joy and fear lie side by side but Jane O'Brien is fascinated by exactly these contrasts.
… On stage the singer and songwriter from Dublin does not present kitsch folk, instead, in the company of her band, she spins a magical web of plaintive pop and lyrical jazz combined with free improvisation. With a key change here and a shift in rhythm there, Jane, with her crystal clear voice, creates a taut atmosphere in which to tell her stories. The small woman with the cute side curls can certainly hammer out a note. She brings melancholy, dreamy romanticism to life with her strong voice and pulsating rhythms. When she is not playing the guitar she plays a circus snare or the Irish bodhrán with its characteristic deep soft tone …
… Jane O'Brien ”twists and turns” in bed wracked with worries about love as the ”full moon's rising” and stares at the ceiling ” …maybe I should paint this room Magnolia”. The audience in the packed Lutterbeker is enchanted. They are moved when she calls to her ageing, senile father ”Daddy don't cry, Daddy don't die” and are amused by the chat up tactics of Mr. Armani, a slick New Yorker to whom she hisses ”You're only a suit”. She can be as sharp as Anne Clarke when she sings of fear on the streets at night to a march rhythm and follows it with a hymn to the Dublin mountains. Among others the band reminds one of their French colleagues Dit Terzi as the bizarre is mixed with picturesque undertones … Despite the seriousness of some of her songs Jane consoles you with her clear voice and the twinkle in her eye. Simply enchanting!
CD Reviews For Jane O'Brien with S.T.A.R.
… a clever Melange, cooly thought out and shot through with realistic melancholy which Jane O'Brien's elastic alto voice fills with human warmth …
Neue Zürcher Zeitung (New Zurich Newspaper)
… Hip hop, soul and folk come together in S.T.A.R. to make a cool sound to which Jane O'Brien's full rounded voice adds it's own special warmth …
… her warm, expressive and sometimes fragile voice creates a melancholy and inspired sound that must be heard …
Zentral Nerv, Zeitung für Musiker in Bayern (Central nerve, magazine for musicians in Bavaria)
… what fascinated me most was Jane O'Brien's voice. Again and again she manages to give the songs an unfathomable depth. They can certainly hold their own against bands such as Portishead or Moloko …