Material: A feast for the eyes and ears, Sayed Sabrina is a tour de force. Celebrating the release of her album, Thou Art That, she played full-out to a large crowd, showing great vocal command and projection. With a sound that blends elements of Shakira, Peggy Lee, Sass Jordan and Natalie Cole, her show is unique. From the vibrato vocals and scat sounds of “Devil and the Good Lord” and romantic country ballad feel of “Into the Mouth of the Serpent” to the funky soul feel and new- age lyrics of “Free Consciousness” and “Days Like This,” Sabrina’s original compositions are as eclectic as her vocals.
Musicianship: A backing band including some of Los Angeles’ best musicians did not disappoint. Gary Herbig brought his expert saxophone stylings to “Devil and the Good Lord” and “Days Like This,” and there was a fabulous Louisiana-esque pairing of Herbig with Mitch Manker on trumpet for the ballad, “Everybody Knows.” Funky bass lines from Bobby Watson dotted “Free Consciousness,” along with his solid jazz licks and a great solo on “Goody Two Shoes.” The soul ballad feel of “Home is in Your Head,” with its surprising hints of Pink Floyd and transition to reggae instrumentals, was topped off with an incredible trombone solo by Sarah Morrow––a truly original combination.
Performance: From the funky rhythm opening of “What’s Happening Here” to the commanding, feisty, syncopated delivery of “The Pedestrian,” Sabrina makes no apologies for creating her own style. Soulful blues encore, “Everyday,” highlighted her vocal command, range, trademark growls and melismas, and included a call-and-response between Sabrina and the entire band.
Summary: From her first steps on the stage in head-to-toe sparkles and fantasy headdress to her musical liberties, unorthodox compositions and musical styling, Sabrina has no intention of blending in. With an intensity and vocals all her own, and with a powerhouse delivery and confidence (both stylistically and musically), Sabrina represents all that today’s musical artist should be: a unique out-of-the-box expression of self.
Players: Sayed Sabrina, vocals, keyboard; Sarah Morrow, trombone; Gary Herbig, saxophone; Mitch Manker, trumpet; Dave Mason, cello; Cosima Luther, violin; Jamie Kime, guitar; Toshi Yanagi, guitar; Bobby Watson, bass; Todd Wolf, drums