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Reviews

Arlington Arts Centre, Live Review 24th March 2023, Newbury Weekly Times

"Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion were brilliant... Rob's riff laden guitar and Zoe’s incredible vocals combine beautifully to create an electric atmosphere."
One stompin’ night of blues ‘n’ boogie: THREE great sets of blues and blues rock made for a great night out and showcased the variety of the genre. Dom Pipkin opened proceedings with a solo set, accompanying himself brilliantly on keyboards. A hugely accomplished musician who unashamedly draws in...

Live Review, Blues In Britain Magazine, Issue 256, April 2023

scintillating solos from Koral and Whittaker. Schwarz’s stage presence and vocal delivery is commanding; ... She’s a lady born to sing the blues.
Cold and foggy the weather might have been, but an appreciative audience’s cockles were truly warmed by a cracking performance from Zoe and her Commotion, one that set its tone with the opening brace of ‘Broken Heart Blues’ and ‘If Only I Could Be with You’. Dedicated to her husband, guitarist Ro...

Rob Koral 'Wild Hearts' (instrumental trio with Pete Whittaker & Jeremy Stacey) Album Review from Plunger

Wild Hearts is released on Friday 28th May 2021. Distribution through Proper Music - Catalogue number RKUK001
… And now for something completely different … While I-IV-V plankspankers and blues rock shredders are ten-a-penny these days, Rob Koral’s inventive, cliché-averse guitar work with Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion has always been beyond pentatonic pigeonholing. Making the best of enforced ‘free t...

Album Review, Rootstime Magazine, Belgium

“ ... another excellent album, especially for a broad blues-loving audience. Those who love a bit more vocal input, will be spoiled extra here…"
Google Translation - Dutch review below. Zoë Schwarz is a British singer-songwriter who has worked as a Blue Commotion with guitarist / songwriter Rob Koral since 2012. Both had worked together for some time but this project was born out of their common interests, in which musical freedom of all...

Album Review, R&R magazine, July/August Issue 81, 4/5*s

… And this album, Zoe and the band’s sixth studio set, is indeed aptly-named as UK singer Zoe Schwarz tackles a wide variety of styles and adapts perfectly to them all. With guitarist Rob Koral and keyboards player Pete Whittaker the main instrumental voices here, plus Paul Robinson on drums and ...

Album Review, MUSIC-NEWS.COM Apr 2020 4/5*

One of the best things I’ve heard this year (and there have been some crackers).
Zoe Schwarz has a very unique voice, faintly reminiscent of Eartha Kitt and Nina Simone but with a strong Blues base to her sound. In company with husband Rob Koral she is the heart of Blue Commotion and this is the latest of a long back catalogue. It may just be the best and most complete album ...

Album Review, Fatea Magazine UK,

This is another classy album from the Queen of the Southern Blues, (southern England, that is).
This is another classy album from the Queen of the Southern Blues, (southern England, that is). Now into their 6th studio album in eight years, the band have really settled into a groove: solid rhythm, tight playing and measured solos. This can be put down to maintaining a consistent line-up and ...

Album Review, Barn Owl Blues, Netherlands (8.5/10)

An excellent record.
Google translation, actual review is below! Blue Commotion, the band around singer Zoë Schwarz exists since 2012 and in their eighth year they recently released their sixth CD entitled “Chameleon”. The foursome come from the beautiful county of Dorset in South West England. In addition to the af...

Blues In Britain Magazine, Issue 151, July 2014

Live Review, The Maltings, Farnham, 15th May 2014
Sometimes you see a band and enjoy them the first time but less so on repeated viewings. Quite the opposite with this band which seems to get better each time I see them.  The reason for this must be the quality of the musicians, the inventiveness of the material and the variety of music on ...

Blues Matters Magazine, Issue 77, April/May 2014

Live Review, Great British Rock & Blues Festival 24th-26th Jan 2014
Closing Friday night in the packed JAKs bar was ZOE SCHWARZ BLUE COMMOTION, new to the Blues Matters stage.  Zoe and the band take pride in filling their live sets and albums with vibrant and very distinct original numbers. Fronting the band, Zoe oozed class; she commanded the stage demonstr...

Classic Rock's 'The Blues Magazine', Issue 12, Apr/May 2014

Track on the Cover-mount CD. Mention in live review from Skegness.
Liberated Woman (from The Blues Don't Scare Me) on the cover mount CD. "...  The die-hard blues fans are drawn to the jazz sophistication of Zoe Schwarz' effortless phrasing in duo mode with Rob Koral."  exert from 'The Great British Rock & Blues Festival, Jan 2014' live review

2 U I BESTOW, Music Blog, 7th March 2014

Next in our look at the 2 U I Bestow Glastonbury Emerging Talent Contest hopefuls is Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion. Solid blues/country flare with energy to spare. Tremendously seductive vocals and incredible musicianship. Liberated Woman starts with a raw, delta, acoustic energy befo...

Blues Blast Magazine, USA, Issue 8-10 March 2014

'The Blues Don't Scare Me' Album Review:
“Well played and produced… The band is hugely experienced on both the blues and jazz circuits... Zoe’s vocal here is again outstanding…” On the second CD from UK band Blue Commotion the band is Zoe Schwarz on vocals, Rob Koral on guitar, Si Genaro on harmonica, backing vocals (and rap!), Pete Wh...

Borough Blues Club, Pontypool, Newsletter March 2014

Gig Review, 8th Feb 2014
"one of the best evening’s entertainment we have ever had at the club" We don’t get many lady vocalists at Borough Blues and, OK, Wales lost and it was another filthy night, but those who didn’t turn up to see Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion missed one of the best evening’s entertainment we have ever...

Blues In Britain Magazine, Issue 147 March 2014

Live Review, Sydenham Blues Club, 10th Jan 2014
Crystal Palace is pretty much beyond the outer limits of my (public transport-limited) range for gig-going, but I didn't want to miss an act who have been making waves in the blues scene, particularly with their most recent release 'The Blues Don't Scare Me'. Sadly venue consideration meant this ...

Borough Blues Club, Pontypool

“Zoe and the band were fantastic, in my view one of the very best performances we've ever heard at our club”.

Blues In The North West .com & Lancashire Blues Archives

Album Review for 'The Blues Don't Scare Me' Posted on Tues 28th Jan 2014
Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion are a six-piece outfit, based in the South of the UK. Fronting the band is Zoe Schwarz, with Rob Koral on guitars, Si Genaro on harmonica/backing vocals, Pete Whittaker on Hammond organ, Pat Davey on bass and Paul Robinson on drums and percussion. Guests on the album we...

Classic Rock Magazine, March 2014 Issue 194

'The Blues Don't Scare Me' Album review
Rising fast on the circuit, Zoe Schwarz's writing partnership with Rob Koral also steps up on this second album.  The blues don't scare her, and nor does any other genre: songs roam from the barn-burning title track to the rootsy Liberated Woman and the Hammond stabs of Your sun Shines Rain,...

Classic Rock’s The Blues Magazine – Issue 11 Jan/Feb 2014

Blues chanteuse with whip-crack band let loose some jazzy interludes.
Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion and the 100 Club would have been a perfect fit in the pre punk, jazz and blues era. Faced with the problem of putting across their subtle brand of blues after the barn burning, powerhouse performance of the Billy Walton Band, they simply play to their strengths and let...

'Wasser-Prawda' Musik und Meer - Kulturmagazin, Germany

Album review for 'The Blues Don't Scare Me' (translation below by Prof. Jono Podmore
Die Bluesszene in Großbritannien ist momentan wirklich nicht arm an großartigen Sängerinnen. Neben Jo Harman, Becky Tate (Babajack), Dani Wilde oder Helen Turner (Bare Bones Boogie Band) hat sich Zoe Schwarz mit ihrer Band Blue Commotion in der letzten Zeit zu Recht gehörige Aufmerksamkeit erspie...

'BiTS' (Blues In The South), No. 1 from TOP 100 albums

Blues In The South, (monthly blues editorial since 1987), voted 'The Blues Don't Scare Me' Number 1 from their TOP 100 albums for 2013. By editor Ian McKenzie 

The Mary4Music 2013 'Blewzzy' Awards: Best Song

Now, with no further delay, I am very pleased to announce the winners of the 2013 "Blewzzy Awards". I now present Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion with the 2013 "BLEWZZY" for my favorite song - "I'll Be Yours Tonight" - off of their "The Blues Don't Scare Me" CD. Congratulations, Zoe.

Digital Radio, Ashwyn Smyth

Nominated for best British Blues Presenter & 3rd best European Blues presenter
A Look At 2013 Best Album: 'The Blues Don't Scare Me'A gorgeous collection of 12 songs, 11 of them originals with Zoe’s smoky delicious vocals and a top class five piece band coming together to produce something magical. http://www.digitalblues.co.uk "blues ancient & modern on the radio” w...

'Blues In Britain' Magazine Issue 145 January 2014

"terrific stuff & quite properly receiving a deserved ovation from the audience"
Zoe Schwarz and partner Rob Koral were playing at the temporary home of Scratchers in a stripped down version of their usual six piece Blue Commotion. On this occasion singer Zoe and guitarist Rob were joined by Dave Mayne on drums and Bas Tarrez on bass. Those who got there early witnessed a gre...

Blues Matters - Issue 75, December-January2014

Album Review for 'The Blues Don't Scare Me'
The opening track I Believe In You, immediately engages the listener with its powerful vocals, intricate guitar backing and wonderfully crafted Hammond organ solos, all beautifully arranged. Liberated Woman is up tempo blues which showcases the immense talents of the Schwarz-Koral songwriting tea...

'Get Ready To Rock', online magazine, **** Pretty damn fine!

Album review, posted 24th November 2013
Zoe Schwarz’s clarity of diction and unique phrasing mark her out as a special singer capable of making any song exclusively her own. She’s equally happy as a sultry, soulful blues singer or as a vivacious blues shouter who knows the value of the pitch, pacing and timing of her delivery. Her phra...

Blues Matters Writers Poll for 2013

The 2013 results for the Best of Blues
for STUDIO ALBUM:  'The Blues Don't Scare Me' = 2nd for VOCALIST: Zoe Schwarz = 3rd

Jazzwise Magazine, (voted best jazz media 2013) Issue 181 Dec2013/Jan 2014

Album review - the Blues Don't Scare Me (33WM148) - 4 out of 5 stars
     Judging by this latest release from her six-piece blues band Blue Commotion, it's clear that Zoe Schwarz's voice just gets more dynamic and characterful with each new album.  The material ranges from brass-driven, swashbuckling anthems (including the title track and 'Sat ...

Mary4Music.com USA, 2011 "Keeping The Blues Alive" Award Recipient

Album review for 'The Blues Don't Scare Me'
American blues enthusiasts, and those around the world as well, need to discover a band that's causing quite a commotion in the British blues community - Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion,  Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro Over the dozen or so years we've been doing this, there have been many artists that ...

Blues In Britain, Issue 143, November 2013

Album review, The Blues Don’t Scare Me, 33 Records 33WM148
This latest from Zoe, husband Rob Koral on guitars, Si Genaro harp, Pete Whittaker Hammond organ, Pat Davey bass (plus a couple of appearances by Rodney Teague) bass and Paul Robinson drums carries on where Good Times left off. A Catholic mix, from a straight-up take on ‘Billie’s Blues’ (the onl...

Blues Matters - Issue 74 October/November 2013

Interview, A Blues Commotion
verbals by Clive Rawlings, visuals by Roy Cano "SO LET'S START A BLUES COMMOTION SHALL WE? WHAT'S THAT YOU SAY WE ARE TOO LATE THERE IS A BAND BY THAT NAME ALREADY FEATURING THE FABULOUS ZOE SCHWARZ ON STUNNING VOCALS AND ON GUITAR, THE ONE AND ONLY ROB KORAL Ah yes they go out in multiple form...

bluesinthesouth.com

Album review, Blues In The South October 2013
My Oh My! What a stunner this one is. Blue Commotion have been lurking waiting to pounce and now it has come. All the band members have as they say 'paid their dues' and none more so than Zoe who has developed as a singer in the most remarkable way. Coming from a jazz background she brings to the...

Live Review

Abergavenny Jazz & Blues Festival, 31st August 2013
Blues standards and original songs rooted in the blues tradition but with plenty of room for the instrumentalists to stretch out and improvise. Raw and exciting with Schwarz’s powerful vocals well supported by the work of some of the UK’s top instrumentalists. Koral is a highly versatile guitar...

Mary4Music.com

Some of the best blues I've heard come out of Great Britain in decades. As a matter of fact, this group would certainly fit into the category of the "Future Of British Blues.

C.Michael Bailey

Schwarz takes all that is good from Janis Joplin and Billie Holiday and makes it uniquely her own

Guitarist Magazine, Jan 2012

Eye catching vocals meet sumptuous guitar

The Bishop, Blues Matters 2012

It is impossible and probably unnecessary to try and categorise BLUE COMMOTION due to their uniqueness

Classic Rock’s The Blues Magazine – Issue 7 June/July 2013

'LIVES' editorial piece, (full page editorial piece, in conversation with Zoe Schwarz)
"Festival fever and second album on the way" "Someone gave me a Billie Holiday tape. My blues started with 32-bar tunes, not 12-bar." Zoe Schwarz and Blue Commotion are hitting the road this summer for a series of concerts and festival appearances. The Group are also busy recording the folow-up...

Blues In Britain Issue 138 June 2013

Album review for 'Good Times'
Blue Commotion returned to the Maltings after their July 2012 gig. The band consist of partners Zoe Schwarz on vocals and Rob Koral on guitar, with Si Genaro on harp and vocals Pete Whittaker on organ, Paul Robinson on drums and Rodney Teague on bass. The band opened with ‘I’m Leaving you’ from t...

Classic Rock’s The Blues Magazine – Issue 6 April/May 2013

Album review for 'Good Times' 7*s
‘Lady sings the blues with passion verve and retro style’. Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion inhabit the jazzier end of the blues spectrum, where the voice is primary. And Zoe Schwarz fits the bill perfectly in terms of her range, emotion and ability to interpret a song. The challenge Blue Commotion s...

Mary4Music.com USA, 2011 Keeping The Blues Alive Award Recipient

Album review for 'Good Times'
Exactly 40 years ago, in 1973, a record was released that featured many British artists - most of whom went on to become legends in several music genres, all while keeping in touch with their blues roots. That recording was called the "History Of British Blues" and Long John Baldry, Eric Clapton,...

Blues In Britain Issue 134 February 2013

Live Review for Teignmouth Jazz and Blues Festival ~ 18.11.2012
The picturesque South Devon seaside town of Teignmouth has held a purely jazz weekend festival for many years but recently has introduced some blues artists.  Zoe Schwarz  Blue Commotion filled the late Sunday afternoon spot. The strength of Zoe’s voice was evident from their...

Blues in the North West

Album review for 'Good Times'
On this, the band’s third album, of thirteen numbers, seven are originals, which are supplied by lead singer Zoe and (husband) Rob Koral, guitar; these numbers display the full and explosive range of the band which are; Si Genaro; harmonica, Pete Whittaker; Hammond organ, Rodney Teague; bass and ...

Blues In Britain Issue 129 September 2012

LIVE REVIEW Boogaloo Blues and Boogie, Farnham Maltings 19.6.2012
They had played for Boogaloo as ‘The Baddest Blues Band’ but on this occasion they were ‘The Commotion’, with lead singer Zoe clearly upfront. Quite right, too, as Zoe proved throughout the show to be a vocalist of rare talent and allied to an excellent band of seasoned musicians it proved a supe...

Blues In Britain Issue 127 July 2012

‘Good Times’ (33JAZZ227)
This consummate band of five highly-talented musicians, energetically complement Zoe’s outstanding, lyrical vocals. Pete Whittaker excels with some profound extemporising on Hammond, whilst the subtle rhythm section, of Paul Robinson (percussion) and Rodney Teague (bass) create a world-class imp...