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ST. CATHARINES STANDARD by John Law, Monday, Dec. 14, 2015: Niagara Jazz Singers Tune Up For Refugees

ST. CATHARINES STANDARD by John Law, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015: Sarah Jerrom’s Poetic Jazz Comes To Brock

MIDTOWN TOWN CRIER by Lorianna de Giorgio, April 2007 Edition: Singer’s album carves places for her in city’s jazz scene

The Yeats Project:

Cadence Magazine – January 2018

Singer SARAH JERROM has composed and arranged 10 of the 11 tracks [73:08] on THE YEATS PROJECT [Sarah Jerrom sj 2016cd]. Backed by a small group, conducted by Tom Richards, Jerrom writes the compositions and sings the poetry of William Butler Yeats. The results are a third stream art music. The music has a touch of free improv mixed with chamber music and the instrumental-like vocals are divided in and around the compositions. It’s an ambitious undertaking and one that is successful. A lyric printout would have complimented this 2/27 and 3/11 2015 production greatly. Her 8/10&11/06 recording, ILLUMINATIONS [no label 829982 093714] is more distinctly a jazz effort, 10 tracks [55:15] including 2 originals project an adventurous spirit not afraid to take chances and bend the traditional. A good example of which is her dismantling “Oh Lonesome Me”, into a monotone-ish lament and also the powerful duet with Stu Harrison [p] on “Lush Life”. Support comes from a pool of musicians, notably Mike Murley [ts]. Jerrom sounds best when she is free of traditional confines. – Robert Rusch, Cadence Magazine
(read article here…)

“Too Good To Leave Behind” – Jazz History Online, Jan. 1, 2018

SARAH JERROM: “THE YEATS PROJECT” (self-released)
With its confluence of classical instrumentation, jazz language, and superb poetry, Sarah Jerrom’s “The Yeats Project” captures all of the best elements of the Third Stream movement. The Canadian vocalist composed, orchestrated and sings the primary vocal parts on this ambitious 72-minute suite centered around the verse of William Butler Yeats. True to Gunther Schuller’s guidelines, the composition has elements of classical and jazz styles, but does not belong completely to any single genre. Jerrom has a pure, but not commanding voice. She sings her angular lines with grace and accuracy, and she adds improvised passages to several of the movements. Like Jacqui Dankworth on New Perspective’s recording of A.E. Housman settings, Jerrom becomes the voice of these poems, bringing Yeats’ words to life with the sheer humanity of her sound and interpretive skills. The work is scored for voice, flugelhorn (played here by Tara Kannangara), clarinets (Johnny Griffith), violin (Linnea Thacker), viola (Aleksandar Gajic), cello (Andrew Downing), piano (Carissa Neufeld), bass (Rob McBride) and drums (Ernesto Cervini). The ensemble (conducted by Tom Richards)—recorded live in concert—is exceptionally well-rehearsed, performing flawlessly as a group and as improvising soloists. In scoring the suite, Jerrom has discovered timbres which work well against the sound of her own voice: Griffith’s sonorous bass clarinet and Kannangara’s mellow flugelhorn are particularly good matches, but the strings also provide fine backgrounds throughout the work. Overall, “The Yeats Project” is an impressive composition, expertly realized by Jerrom and her outstanding instrumentalists. It was nearly a decade from when Jerrom first read Yeats’ “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” to when she released this recording of the full suite. Clearly, the years she put towards the realization of this fine composition was time well-spent. – Thomas Cunniffe, Jazz History Online
(read article here…)

“A New Songbook… Sarah Jerrom: The Yeats Project” – JazzWeekly.com, Dec. 14, 2017
Vocalist Sarah Jenson delves into the poetry of William Butler Yeats for lyrics as she sets music to the famous poet that ranges from chamber jazz to free form improve.
Tom Richards conducts the team of Linnea Thacker/v, Aleksandar Gajic/via, Andrew Downing/cel, Rob McBride/b, Johnny Griffith/cl, Tara Kannangara/fh, Carissa Neufeld/p and Ernesto Cervini/dr, as dreamy half tones form drapery around “He Wishes For The Cloths of Heaven” and the strings hang as loose as a Teddy on the luminous “The Lake Isle of Innisfree…” Cervini delivers a lithe groove with his cymbal for Griffith’s sighing bass clarinet as Jerrom’s voice is like the mystique of a starry night on”Sailing to Byzantium” whereas the chamber mood casts long shadows on “Death.” She shows dashes of frisky quirkiness with the traffic -jammed “Menu” and procures dramatic effects as Cervini gallops through “Adam’s Curse” and “The Stolen Child.” Creative, risk taking and mostly successful for those willing to take in a few vocal risks. – George W. Harris, JazzWeekly.com
“Sarah Jerrom – The Yeats Project” – Jazzenzo Jazz Magazine, Nov. 28, 2017

(Translated from Dutch) “Do you have to give a musical interpretation to poems that have proven their worth? The Canadian vocalist Sarah Jerrom gives her answer on the basis of eleven texts by William Butler Yeats. Jerrom touched his poetry in the grip of the Irish poet reading ‘The Lake of Innisfree’. The lyrical evocation of the Irish landscape did not let her go. When she later discovered other themes such as love, death and spirituality in his work, there was no way back and she started to compose. Jerrom wrote all the music and orchestrations for ten poems (actually eleven but she merged two) and a traditional song, and brought nine musicians, including drummer Ernesto Cervini, and asked orchestra leader Tom Richard to steer everything in the right direction. She worked on the project for ten years. The end result is for gourmets. A listening game with light theatrical touches but especially with an ingenious musical framework drenched in jazz structures based on contemporary classical music. Alternately, soloists ensure that a specific atmosphere is emphasized. Jerrom’s voice slowly slides through the musical fabric, gently twisting and revolving. In this way music and text are close to each other and it is not artificial art for art’s sake . In the opener ‘He Wishes For The Cloths of Heaven’ these lines of force and this field of tension are immediately at the top. Very strongly also how she gives her voice a folk timbre in the traditional ‘She Moved Through The Fair’. Subversive spielereien with rhythm will not hear you here, but sophisticated chamber music where influences from different angles seamlessly merge. – Georges Tonla Briquet, Reviewer, Jazzenzo Jazz Magazine, Brussels
(read original article here…)

“Sarah Jerrom: The Yeats Project” – Toronto Music Report, Nov. 5, 2017

“Although W.B. Yeats was notoriously tone-deaf – as anyone who listens to recitations of his work by Yeats himself will testify – the lyricism of his poetry is almost without compare. Sarah Jerrom not only discovers this, but puts it to extraordinary purpose in The Yeats Project, her (contemporary rendition of) art-song project that has, fortuitously, made it to disc thanks to the support of a crowd-funding programme. From acknowledgements on the packaging a debt is owed also to Brock University’s Centre For The Arts, Array Music, an organisation that supports ‘the contemporary Canadian musical arts within an international, interdisciplinary context’ the Toronto Downtown Jazz (Discovery Series) and TD Downtown Jazz’s Artistic Director, Josh Grossman, who also happens to have founded the Toronto Jazz Orchestra; together with a group of musicians – including those who perform on this album. Why is this worth noting?

In hockey-mad Canada – especially hockey-mad Toronto, there is still an audience for classical and contemporary music, including opera and – yes ballet, opera and lieder/art-song – even when it is created in in the language and realm of improvised music. Moreover, this is not something ‘fringe’ as one would have thought. Still, to have to resort to crowd-funding, despite the growth of even the so-called ‘boutique’ label is something lamentable as it is indicative of the motive of pure profit as an overriding consideration for something as beautifully artistic as The Yeats Project by Sarah Jerrom. It’s not so difficult to understand, though, when you consider that even boutique labels seem to salivate at the commercial success of (say) hip-hop productions, though the quality of almost all – if not all of them – lack any extraordinary musicality and originality…even poetry.

To create a project around an Irish – albeit world-renowned – poet, W.B. Yeats, who wrote at the turn of the 19th century and until the mid-20th century is commendable despite the fact that in all of the arts, poetry almost inevitably draws the shortest straw in all of the arts is very courageous on the part of Sarah Jerrom. But by the same token, judged purely on her performance here Miss Jerrom appears born to do this. Her voice is pristine and high-sprung. She has an innate sense of lyricism and seems not just to dwell in, but is immersed in an enormous palette of the most gorgeous colours. And in an almost eerie twist of fate she is blessed with a quivering vibrato, like Mr Yeats’ recitation voice, which she uses to glide up and down the soprano (and sometimes mezzo-soprano) registers. This she uses to great effect to render the frail, almost ghostly imagery of Mr Yeats poetry.

Ms. Jerrom is also a very astute and serious musician. This certainly comes through in the majestic work on this album. Except for “She Moves Through the Fair”, which is a traditional Irish song (written probably at the turn of the 19th century but) published in 1909, Sarah Jerrom has writing all of the wonderful music for this album and set, quite masterfully, the poems of Mr Yeats to the music. Clearly she also imagined how this would sound and has put together a remarkable chamber group to bring it all to fruition. All of the musicians are drawn from both the classical and contemporary realm and include some of the best-known names in the improvisatory scene. Notable ones are cellist Andrew Downing, flugelhorn player Tara Kannangara, bassist, pianist, Carissa Neufeld, violist Aleksander Gajic, violinist Linnea Thaker, cellist, clarinetist Johnny Griffith and drummer Ernesto Cervini, wonderfully conducted by Tom Richards. However the master-stroke is most definitely delivered by the wraith-like vocals of Sarah Jerrom. Having done so much, though it’s a pity that the W.B. Yeats poems set to music did mot find themselves a part of this package.”
– Raul da Gama, Toronto Music Report, Senior Writer
(read article here…)

“Sarah Jerrom: The Yeats Project” – The Listening Room, The Whole Note Magazine, November 2017 Issue

“Sarah Jerrom has an almost otherworldly approach to her ethereal compositions, combining jazz, improvised, contemporary and classical music. These are detailed, well- thought-out settings to ten Yeats’ poems, which ft her vocal stylings with complex melodies, wide pitch jumps and subtle tonal colours. She has arranged her work for an all- star nine member chamber band of strings, woodwinds, brass and rhythm section, each member an improvising star in their own right. By treating her instrumentalists as equals, Jerrom creates perfect poetic musical settings. The opening of He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven is a heart-throbbing introduction to an exploration of love through words and sound. In sharp contrast, A Coat / That Reed-Throated Whisperer features a more wide- ranging vocal line effectively matched by a very low pitched clarinet. I love the exciting free improvisation atonal section at the beginning of Meru leading to an almost spooky melody with shots and held-note band backup. The Lake Isle of Innisfree/Stream and Sun at Glendalough is as epic as its poetry in length, meandering improvisations and moods. Sailing to Byzantium is a more traditional jazz tonal tune with bouncy drum and piano groove, clarinet solo and vocal line swells and scat. So much re_ection, talent and respect for music, words and performers make The Yeats Project a memorable concentrated listening experience.”
– Tina Kiik, Reviewer, The Whole Note Magazine
(read original article here…)

“Thoughtful Poetry” Lira Magasin, November 2017 Issue

(Translated from Swedish:) “William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and dramatist, one of the 19th century heavyweights with a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923. Sarah Jerrom is a composer, arranger and singer residing in Toronto and has captured ten of his poems, and perhaps the most famous “She Moved Through The Fair”, with traditional melody, is also part of the project. Tom Richards directs an nine-person band of violin, viola, cello, double bass, piano, flugelhorn and bass clarinet, as well as drums… Jerrom’s voice often draws more on art songs, rather than jazz rhythmic, which in itself does not have to be wrong with Yeats poetry. Like her compassionate compositions winds up in the poet’s track. “Sailing To Byzantium” turns on a more established jazz. From her intricate arrangements, the flugelhorn horn and clarinet and the string instruments dissolve in well-thought-out and thoughtful solos.”
– Lief Carlsson, Reviewer, Lira Magasin, Sweden
(read original article here…)


“Five Women XII” AllAboutJazz.com, Nov. 1, 2017

“Sarah Jerrom is a different kind of jazz musician, if, in fact, a jazz musician she is. Her debut recording, the self-produced Illuminations (2007), a collection of original compositions, jazz-infused contemporary songs, and a smattering traditional jazz standards, was well received. Jerrom’s vision is broader than the typical jazz vocalist’s, pushing the envelope beyond jazz into the soft realm of “art music.” And it is in art music that we find her sophomore effort, The Yeats Project, featuring all original musical compositions written for selected poems by Irish poet William Butler Yeats. Jerrom creates a string quartet—jazz quintet mashup (that nominally adds up to a chamber jazz orchestra) that works in the same crazy way that poetry does. Improvisation makes up a large part of the magic here and Jerrom’s band reveals conservative discipline in dolling out that improvisation. Jazz and classical elements are well integrated and Jerrom’s singing is assertive, reaching far stylistically.”
– C Michael Bailey, Reviewer, www.allaboutjazz.com
(read original article here…)


“Sarah Jerrom: The Yeats Project” CD Review, Oct. 27, 2017

(Translated from Danish) “The Canadian jazz composer, organizer and vocalist, Sarah Jerrom, has spent ten years with The Yeats Project . The project, in short, consists of a meeting between Irish poetry and Canadian chamber jazz. Jerrom has been occupied by the famous poet WB Yeats for most of her adult life, and the more she has immersed in his work, the greater the need to write music to his poems has become. The Yeats Project is thus the sum of ten years of intense immersion, empathy and composition. Jerrom has orchestrated the music for nine musicians plus vocalist. And the instrumentalists? It’s some of Canada’s best strings, blowers plus rhythm section. The song or recitation? Jerrom himself has taken care of this. As a whole, her Yeats Project appears to be a somewhat elongate, uniform conceptual work of almost avant-garde form. Conceptual, avant-garde uniformity has the potential to sharpen the listener’s attention to the lyric, but it also presents the danger that the listener experiences it all as a patterned tapestry. I experience it repeatedly.”
– Ivan Rod, Reviewer, www.ivanrod.dk, Denmark
(read original article here…)

“New in the KUCI Jazz Library” – Oct. 19, 2017 – Sarah Jerrom – The Yeats Project

“Composer/singer Jerrom working with some of Toronto’s most esteemed jazz and classical musicians, including the remarkable cellist Andrew Downing and drummer Ernesto Cervini, uses elements of Celtic music of course, but also explodes into swinging commentary, edgy minor key syncopated riffs, and recurrent melodic undulations, ebbs and swells. Pianist Carissa Neufeld links the classical string section and the jazz ensemble together to create seamless transitions between genres. The poem “Adam’s Curse” is a profound feminist commentary exquisitely performed. Also standout arrangements include “Stream and Sun at Glendalough” and “Sailing to Byzantium”.”
– Hobart Taylor, Music Director, KUCI 88.9FM, University of California in Irvine
(read article here…)

NextBop.com Blog “The Next Generation of Jazz”- Sept. 19, 2017 – Sarah Jerrom: The Yeats Project

“Vocalist/composer/arranger Sarah Jerrom has a strong voice to go with her cerebral approach to jazz. Her embracing of chamber jazz melds her firm, but airy voice with compositions that bandy about contrasting notes to find a kind of balance in the midst of it all. It’s an approach to music that’s poetic, which is why it so fits with the work of William Butler Yeats, a man who found balance in contrasts bearing from his Irish soul. Thus, for her latest album, Jerrom has composed songs for some of Yeats’ poetry, arranged it for a nine-piece group of fine Toronto musicians, and set it all up to greet the world October 27th…”
– Anthony Dean-Harris, Editor-in-Chief, NextBop.com
(read article here…)

TorontoJazz.com Blog “It’s Special Projects Time!” – March 5, 2015 – 
Sarah Jerrom: The Yeats Project

“The music is a mixture of Sarah’s originals and arrangements… It was the arranging which struck me when I first heard the music back in 2012; the poems lend themselves to beautiful, lush treatments, and Sarah uses the ensemble’s nine instruments to great effect. The result is contemporary sounding but still tuneful, an interesting mix of chamber music and improvisation; Sarah’s impressive vocals soar over top.”
Josh Grossman– Artistic Director, Toronto Downtown Jazz
(read article here…)

Illuminations Reviews:

IAJE Canada Newsletter 
”CD Reviews” – Volume 12 Number 2, Fall 2007

– 
Sarah Jerrom: Illuminations



”Diverse and sophisticated are two words that repeatedly come to mind when listening to Toronto-based vocalist Sarah Jerrom’s debut album, Illuminations. Diversity is perhaps most apparent in song selection; tried and tune tunes such as “Skylark” and “Lush Life” find a place among offerings written by country stalwart Don Gibson and by more contemporary artists such as Brad Mehldau (to whose music Jerrom provides lyrics), Swedish jazz vocalist Josefine Cronholm, and Jerrom herself. Each tune seems equally at home here, and this owes largely to the infusion of Jerrom’s sophisticated touch as an arranger.

Harmonically compelling, with creative and engaging accents, Jerrom sets a personal touch on these tunes. This skill is particularly evident in her treatment of Gibson’s “Oh Lonesome Me”, where, with a mix of horns and acoustic guitar, she makes it her own- with a tip of the hat to Neil Young’s treatment of the same tune. Diversity also comes to mind when speaking of the album’s orchestration. From the duo format of “Lush Life” to the 9-piece ensemble- complete with strings- that performs Cronholm’s “Wild Garden”, Jerrom is not afraid to explore a variety of timbres and moods. The album benefits greatly from this willingness to explore, as Jerrom orchestrates the album in a manner that coaxes the most from each tune.

Sophistication is again evident on the part of the musicians appearing on this album. Jerrom’s rhythm section performs deftly throughout much of the album, and is in particularly fine form on “Stompin’ at the Savoy”. They underpin each song with a concise and refined style that is perfectly suited to this music. Saxophonist Mike Murley is stellar throughout the album, and the band as a whole, in its various permutations, shines. This is a strong album that will leave you eager to hear more.”

- Justin Litun, IAJE Canada Newsletter

BetterBaking.com
 “Music and Dance Reviews” – May 2009 Issue – 
Sarah Jerrom: Illuminations

“I first heard Sarah Jerrom on Sirius XM and then again on CBC. Her rendition of Heather on the Hill is riveting but her take on Skylark is exceptional. A relaxed, mellow style – with awesome backup in Jamie Reynolds, Harley Card, Mark McIntyre, Mike Murley and Alison Young (tenor and alto sax respectively) plus others makes this a singer to watch.”
Marcy Goldman– Editor, BetterBaking.com – (read article here…)

The Toronto Star
 “What’s On Disc” – Jazz, April 5, 2007
  – Sarah Jerrom: Illuminations

“Sarah Jerrom, a U of T jazz program grad, takes risks. Sweet and clear tones in high registers are one of her ten-cut album strengths, alongside using her own lyrics, arranging songs and recruiting talented young colleagues. She draws from musical theatre, standards and jazz chestnuts, making an appealing job of most… She wrote the smart title track, there’s a good take on “Angel Eyes” and a droll “Oh Lonesome Me”. Top track: a really interesting “Wild Garden” (by Sweden’s Josefine Cronholm) with neat band solos and a string quartet as a bonus.”
Geoff Chapman, The Toronto Star(read article here…)

“We really love Sarah’s stunning sophisticated jazz… the style is powerful, stirring yet gentle and very subtle. The choice of material is marvelous and gels together into a lush sound that has you wanting more, and our audiences most certainly will love her sound. It certainly struck us as an extraordinary CD- one that will be very well received by our astute audience. Sarah’s feel and experience is evident and shows in a very confident way. I would say the word that kept coming to mind was `sophisticated’.”
– Peter Merrett, Programming Director, PBS 106-7FM Melbourne, Australia

“Illumination, that’s the word I was looking for when I heard Sarah Jerrom’s music on her CD. Sarah has that voice quality that stands out among the others. A voice that grabs your attention. This is a CD that needs to be in your collection…”
– Leon Reyes – “Leon’s Jazz In A Box“, KVMR Radio 89.5 FM Nevada City/Sacramento, California

“After listening to (Sarah’s) album, I get the impression that there is something in this for everyone… there’s something laid back, there’s some beautiful lyrics, understated but meaningful, and really, really impeccable phrasing…. And there’s some swinging stuff.”
– Colin Smith –  “One Flight Up”, 88.1FM CKLN, Toronto, Canada

“The beautifully honed skills of both singer and composer are totally evident on Sarah Jerrom’s “Illuminations”. Let me say right up front that I love it. Sarah tackles a bunch of great standards with panache and throws a couple of interesting originals into the mix. Neither is Sarah any slouch with her arrangements. Several of my favourites get the Jerrom treatment. “Lush Life” does it for me (not forgetting Nat Cole), along with “Angel Eyes” and “Stompin’ at the Savoy'”. Don Gibson’s great song “Oh Lonesome Me” is a standout and “Heather On The Hill” takes me straight back to the village of Brigadoon. “Illuminations” has certainly found a spot on my “Jazz Infusions’ playlist.”
– Robin Elks – “Robin On The Radio”, 2TENFM 89.7 and 98.7 Tenterfield, Australia

“Great album. Fantastic stuff for our radio station.”
– Alex Pijnen – BRTO Radio, Netherlands

Performance Reviews:

A WEB OF FINE MUSIC  “Mike’s Picks” – Nov. 7, 2007  – 
Sarah Jerrom: Illuminations

“Back in March, St. Catharines ‘ own Sarah Jerrom launched her self-produced debut CD titled “Illuminations” in Toronto and in her home town. The local performance at her alma mater, Laura Secord Secondary School , brought the house down. Sarah is young but the talent is great and she surrounds herself with some tremendous young talent, most of whom also appear on the CD. The material ranges from original compositions including the title track to such jazz classics as “Skylark” and “Stompin’ at the Savoy”. Contemporary with a connection to the jazz masters who went before her, Sarah shows great promise and will be a talent to watch in the future.”
– Mike Saunders, CKTB Radio

SNAP! ST. CATHARINES 
by Patrick Adams, April 2007 Edition: Sarah Jerrom Launches her New CD, “Illuminations”

Talented young jazz vocalist and composer Sarah Jerrom, recently launched her new CD, “Illuminations” at The Laura Secord Secondary School (her alma mater!) Sarah, local to St. Catharines, who was accompanied by her band, put on a great show, and judging by the audience response, Sarah has a great career ahead of her. Good luck Sarah! – Photos (taken by Patrick Adams)

Weddings:

“Since the wedding, we have continued to receive very positive feedback about the ceremony, and particularly your singing! A number of friends have said they were very impressed. One friend said she was “blown away” with how beautiful your voice is. Another friend said they did not want to sing during the service because they only wanted to hear your singing. Thank you for making our ceremony such a beautiful event.”
– Barbara & Robert, July 2015

 

Miscellaneous:

NIAGARA THIS WEEK by Melinda Cheevers, Apr. 5, 2017: Singers To Unite This Weekend

WOMEN IN BUSINESS CONFERENCE, March 26, 2017: Speakers

JOSH GROSSMAN, TORONTO DOWNTOWN JAZZ, March 5, 2015: It’s Special Projects Time!

FINE MUSIC BLOG by Mike Saunders, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015: Lots To See And Do In Niagara This Weekend

ST. CATHARINES STANDARD by John Law, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014: Love all around on Niagara stages this week

TORONTO DOWNTOWN JAZZ, February 2013: And The Winners Are…

MYKAWARTHA.COM by Paul Rellinger, July 5, 2012: Some art or crafts with your jazz?

PETERBOROUGH EXAMINER by Werner Bergen, June 25, 2009: Jazz Festival Bigger Than Ever