Read more of Do More Magazine, South coast, Live Review, June 2015
"What a singer! What a band! At their best Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion are right up there with the giants of jazz and blues. Smooth and mellow, raw and raunchy, they can seamlessly switch gear in the blink of an eye."
Read more of Blues In Britain Magazine, Issue 162, June 2015, Live album review
Following three excellent studio albums in successive years, a live CD representing the best of these is undoubtedly the only way in which Zoe and her band could have exceeded expectations for 2015. This is because all twelve tracks are extended ersions recorded at an intimate...
Read more of Blues In The South, Ian McKenzie, June 2015 Live Album Review
What a fabulous band this is. Over the last three or so years (as confidence builds) the band has got better and better. The album before this, 2014's "Exposed" was a greeted with much enthusiasm, one reviewer saying, "Zoe and her band have reached the point where they cannot be...
Read more of Plunger Music Blog, May 2015, 'I'll Be Yours Tonight' Live album review.
After three studio albums a live Blue Commotion record was long overdue, although the wait has allowed the band to compile a sizeable and varied body of work to draw on. Proceedings open with the choppy soul strut of 'Your Sun Shines Rain' with Rob Koral's beefy guitar and Pete Whittaker...
Read more of Blues Blast Magazine, USA Issue 9-8 February 2015
Zoe and the band have been together for just 3 years. Together with guitarist and co-band leader Rob Koral they cherry picked the members of the band from people they and worked with before. Each member of the band is a well-established musician in their own right. For...
Read more of Classic Rock's 'The Blues Magazine', Issue 18, Jan/Feb 2015
Zoe Schwarz and the band's third album in as many years has a clear sense of progression. Opening track Angel Of Mercy, with its clever tempo and mood changes, reaches one crescendo after another: just like Beatitudes from the Good Times CD, Schwarz and...
Read more of UK Blues Challenge 2017, The Cavern, Liverpool
Final band, last, but definitely not leas, was Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion. Stylish, sophisticated blues with a jazzy edge. High-quality authentic blues. The title track of their current album, This Is The Life I Choose captured the life and motivation of musicians who play their music live....
Read more of Album Review: R2 Rock'n'Reel Magazine Nov/Dec 2014 Issue 48
A runner-up in the British Blues Awards female vocalist category, Zoe Schwarz leads Blue Commotion's third release, exploring further the fertile no-man's land between blues, rock and jazz.
Exposed exudes honesty. There are no overblown vocal histrionics (usually a sign of...
Read more of Cover mount CD R2 Rock'n'Reel - Issue 48 Nov/Dec 2014
Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion demonstrate both versatility and power as they combine sultry presence and biting blues-rock on their own 'Angel Of Mercy', a standout track from their album Exposed.
Read more of Rootstime Online Magazine, Belgium, Album Review
Waiting translation for full review.... here is rough translation of last paragraph.
"'Exposed' shows a sublime singer and impeccable band. We dream of what would happen if their best songs from her three albums together on one issue? - A world class record! But if the level of...
Read more of Album Review: Blues Matters Magazine Dec 2014/Jan 2015 Issue 81
"What is exposed for all to hear in this superb album is the love and devotion of Zoe and her partner Rob, the heart and soul which they put into their music and a band which performs in complete synergy to produce an awesome and unique sound." (soundbite)
This is the band's...
Read more of Cover mount CD Classic Rock The Blues - Issue 16 October 2014
Editors notes: 2012's Good Times and 2013's The Blues Don't Scare Me were both fab, but this year's Exposed might must be even better. We shouldn't be surprised. Singer-songwritier Zoe Schwarz is a singular talent: classically trained, sh'e...
Read more of Interview: Classic Rock The Blues Magazine - Issue 16, October 2014
First time I met the Blues: Rob Koral and Zoe Schwarz of Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion on mixing jazz, punk and rock'n'roll to create "blues with something else".
Since playing their first gig in February 2012, Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion have established a name for...
"If you love the music, it gets into your blood. It's all about the words and telling a story."
First Time I Met The Blues: Rob Koral and Zoe Schwarz of Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion on mixing jazz, punk and rock'n'roll to create "blues with something else": words Jamie Hailstone.
Since playing their first gig in February 2012, Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion have established a name for themselves thanks to their intoxicating blend of funky, jazzy blues. Their new album, Exposed, was crowd funded through PledgeMusic and looks set to build on the success of their last two releases, The Blues Don't Scare Me and Good Times. The Blues caught up with founder members Zoe Schwarz (vocals) and Rob Koral (guitar). and took them back to their roots.
Do you remember when you were first bitten by the blues bug? Rob: I was at school when I became exposed to Cream, which was Eric Clapton Ginger Baker and jack Bruce. There was a BBC documentary about their farewell concert at the Royal Albert Hall. As a result I bought my first LP - Disraeli Gears, Cream's second album.
Did you learn to play the album note for note? I don't know if I went that far, but I had a friend at school who had started to learn it, so I got him to show me things. I wanted to play some of this licks. Eric was God.
Did you go back and listen to Clapton's influences? I did. I even went back as far as pre-war acoustic blues, but it didn't stay with me for very long. I also found that people like Freddie King just didn't do it to the level that Eric did - he took it to another universe. But there's a distinction between Eric Clapton Mark 1, which was in the late 1960's, and Eric Clapton Mark 2, from the 1970's onwards. To me, that's a different person.
And Zoe, how did you get into the blues? Zoe: When I was about 16, I was given a Billie Holiday tape. I know she's not strictly blues, but to me who's as bluesy as anyone else. It's about the feel. It was like being struck by thunderbolts and lightning. From that moment onwards, it was all I wanted to do.
Who else has been an influence on you? Rob: At the time, there were people like Roy Buchanan and Jimi Hendrix, who was an innovator. Then I listened to people like Yan Akkerman. But now I've came back full circle to doing what we're doing now, which is strongly blues-influenced music, with some great players in the band and room for instrumental fireworks. We're not just a band with a diva up front. I came back to the blues more heavily armed, with extra tools for the job.
What classic blues albums do you own? Zoe: I can't pinpoint any one, apart from my 50 or 60 Billie Holiday albums. My thing has always been the blues with something else. Ray Charles introduced me to the tunes of Muddy Waters. I can't remember the name of the Ray Charles album though. It was probably a greatest hits compilation. The first album I bought was actually London Calling by The Clash, because it was so earthy and gritty.
Did you see many blues performers when you were growing up? Rob: I liked Rory Gallagher at the time and I saw him live a few times. But for me, his music doesn't stand the test of time in the same way. I was Led Zeppelin, who were great live. I was living in Bournemouth at the time and bands used to come down to the Pavilion every week and we would see whoever was on. Focus, Black Sabbath and Ginger Baker's Air Force all came down. Zoe: I was stuck in a boarding school. It was hard to get out. I had a tiny transistor radio and I would listen to John Peel late at night, at the risk of getting a detention. Occasionally he would play some blues. I went to quirky things in Camden when I first moved up to London. I would try to get into places like Ronnie Scott's when they were doing blues gigs.
Has the blues been maligned over the years? Rob: I think it's had its up and downs. I think people who want to put it down think of it as turgid, downtrodden, miserable music, but it doesn't have to be. That's just people who haven't bothered to explore it properly. There's a snobbish element, where some players might think of it as too simplistic to play, but to do it properly takes real ability, phrasing and style.
And what influences can we hear on Exposed? Zoe: Rob's into Led Zeppelin and The Who. If you love the music, it gets into you blood. Mostly my influences are male singers, like Robert Plant and Roger Daltrey, who really passionately sing. It's all about the words and telling a story. An equal mix of all these people is bound to be evident on our new album, but not particularly by design. Rob: I love Wes Montgomery, who was deeply steeped in blues, but played 32-bar tunes and played on changes. We have the ability to do that. It's a coming together of both our influences. It's a good match.
Read more of Blues In Britain Magazine, Issue 153, September 2014
This regular slot showcases the breadth of the British blues scene with the best up-and-coming and established acts. A half-full room (presumably due to the start of the holiday season) were treated to two bands at the top of their form with disparate takes on what constitutes...