"(Jerrom’s) 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.... the (YEATS PROJECT'S) master-stroke is most definitely delivered by the wraith-like vocals of Sarah Jerrom.”
– Raul da Gama, Toronto Music Report, Senior Writer
(2021, THREE PINES RECORDS)
(via Google Translate): "Canadian jazz vocalist, pianist and composer Sarah Jerrom received well-deserved critical acclaim for her first two albums - Illuminations from 2007 and The Yeats Project from 2017. But if there is still justice, she gets more for the trio, Dream Logic, album is her best so far. Dream Logic is music of a shaved nature - modern, unpretentious vocal jazz music, which especially lets vocals and guitar unite in an organic whole and in a characteristic sound that is consistent. With a team of sublime musicians - Harley Card on guitar, Rob McBride on bass and Jeff Luciani on drums and percussion - Sarah Jerrom releases the material, which is predominantly her own, to UG with cross and snake. There is an eminent element of storytelling about the songs, which in composition is like a mix of folk, vocal jazz and indie pop - and the songs and their sound thus testify to a not insignificant relationship with the countryman, Joni Mitchell. Especially gems like Things That Came Out of the Sea and the Accolade Parade, but also Snowblind and Memorabilia impress - all are the small works of surprisingly heavy weight and up to eight minutes duration."
★★★★★ out of five
"This recording, Dream Logic – as the website of Sarah Jerrom tells us – is one that launches her career as a songwriter as well as the first recording that features her playing piano. It is not the first time, however, that we hear her lustrous, glistening voice. As she is joined by the well-known guitarist Harley Card [who also joins her on vocals], the experience of listening to Miss Jerrom’s often sparkling high and lonesome vocalastics is magnified. This is an unhackneyed programme from the young Toronto soprano. It follows her poetry project that set some of W. B. Yeats’ poems to music in 2017. It is brave of her to follow up a programme featuring one of the most consequential poets with a recording of her own lyrics and music. Miss Jerrom was probably thinking of this when she penned her lyrics; something she has a gift for, by the way. She sings the songs with near-flawless technique, sometimes resorting to syllabic vocalisations [as opposed to scatting], and this she does passionately. My copy of the recording did not come with a booklet and lyrics. I have always been an advocate for all vocal recordings being accompanied by booklets with lyrics – just like all classical recordings [operas, cantatas, chorales, etc] do. It makes for better navigation of unfamiliar vocal recordings and therefore always makes for a fairer evaluation of the songwriter’s abilities as a wordsmith. But many contemporary artists skip this step, which is mildly annoying. But then it is heartening to know that this is available to those who obtain her music from the Bandcamp platform. Still Miss Jerrom articulates her vocals with precision and lyricism; that much is clear. Miss Jerrom’s voice is crystalline, bell-like, with an appealing gleam at the top, albeit a little limited in its dynamic range. Her essentially non-interventionist approach [to music] lets her clean, clear vocal lines do the primary work. Moreover, her diction is admirably clear throughout. Songs such as “Things That Came Out of the Sea” and “Tiny Lights” that sound like operetta arias also impress with arrangements that feature Mr Card’s shimmering guitar lines. Moments such as these, where it is also left to Mr Card to supply emotional density are memorable. The guitarist’s playing [as is Miss Jerrom’s own pianism and the artful performances by contrabassist Rob McBride and drummer Jeff Luciani together with Joe Lapinski on “Rose”] gives this music by Miss Jerrom a very special grace."
"With the release of her latest recording, Sarah Jerrom has reminded us that she is one of the most interesting, talented and creative vocalist/composers on the scene today. All of the 13 compositions on the CD were written by Jerrom, except for two (Illusions and Plastic Stuff) by ensemble member and gifted guitarist, Harley Card. Jerrom is also featured on piano and, in addition to Card, is joined by the uber-skilled Rob McBride on bass, Jeff Luciani on drums/percussion and Joe Lipinski (who also co-produced and engineered this project brilliantly) on acoustic guitar/vocals. The opening salvo, Snowblind, has a silky, languid opening, featuring Jerrom’s pitch-perfect, clear tone – reminiscent of the great Jackie Cain or Norma Winstone. Cleverly arranged group vocals join in, followed by Card holding forth on an exquisite solo, rife with emotional and musical colours. An intriguing inclusion is Accolade Parade. Percussive and noir-ish, it deftly explores the desire for recognition – earned or not – and Jerrom shows herself to be a fine pianist on this harmonically dazzling tune. She also displays her vocal and compositional versatility on this well-written track. All is punctuated by the fine work of McBride and Luciani, who drives the ensemble down the pike with pumpitude to spare. A highlight of the recording is the poetic, sultry, diatonic Fata Morgana. Again Jerrom dons another vocal guise with the deft use of her warm, lower register and her fine time feel. Card – this time on electric guitar – adopts a free, Bill Frisell-ish motif, set against the throbbing percussion of Luciani and the dynamic, soul-stirring bass of McBride. Another standout is Fergus – an unselfconscious, swinging, bittersweet love song – elegant in its simplicity and mysterious in its meaning."
– Lesley Mitchell-Clarke, The Whole Note, Vol 26 No 7, May/June 2021
"The exceptional vocalist and pianist Sarah Jerrom might base her song craft in jazz, but she also flirts with folk, pop and chamber sounds as Harley Card, Rob McBride, Jeff Luciani, and Joe Lapinski accompany her on this eclectic journey. “Snowblind” starts the listen on a very high note, as soothing, wordless vocals lead into dizzying percussion from Luciani as Jerrom’s expressive pipes are met with Card’s backing vocals in the dreamy jazz climate, and “Accolade Parade” follows with both busy and bare moments as Jerrom’s strong piano work is met with precise bass and guitar from Card and McBride. There’s 13 tracks here, and not a dull moment to be found, including the soft and intimate “Things That Came Out Of The Sea”, while “Illusions” embraces folk ideas in its chamber filled climate. “Sleeping Buffalo Rises”, an especially glowing tune, then displays playful scatting as warm guitar lines and the dynamic rhythm section impress and inspire. Deeper yet, “Wheel Remember” emits much beauty as absorbing, cautious songwriting unfolds in 5 minutes of frisky bass plucking and atmospheric drumming, and “Tiny Lights” exits the listen with Jerrom’s versatile pipes on display amid a moving and fascinating finish. An album that was recorded across 2 sessions in 2018 and 2019, and that began with the vision of an EP, thankfully Jerrom and company decided to extend the effort, cause this just might be your favorite jazz rooted record of 2021."
(via Google Translate): “Canadian vocalist / songwriter Sarah Jerrom will release her new album Dream Logic in late May via Three Pines Records. This is the third album in Sarah's discography. The first, a collection of her own songs and famous jazz standards, Illuminations, she released back in 2007. It was ten years for Jerrom's second album, and The Yeats Project (2017) with songs based on poems by William Butler Yeats attracted favorable attention of critics and listeners to the singer. Inspired by her success, Sarah began work on her next project almost immediately. Dream Logic was born in two sessions with a one-year interval between them: in April 2018 and April 2019. The fact is that in the beginning Sarah and her partners - guitarist Harley Card, bassist Rob McBride and drummer Jeff Luciani - intended to record only the EP. But the musicians worked so well together that it was decided to continue the collaboration. At the same time, by the way, the name of the quartet was born: as it turned out, all four of them like the work of David Lynch. As early as Dream Logic the musicians gathered a year later, at this session Sarah Jerrom not only sang, but also played a lot on the piano. Now the full-length album has received the name of the band: Dream Logic.I would not classify the album as purely jazz works, although in some places Sarah sings dashingly in the scat technique. The definition of "crossover" is better suited here: music at the intersection of folk, jazz and pop music. And the music is of high quality! Sarah Jerrom's songs are not dummies, the lyrics here mean as much as the music. I would especially note here the wonderful Memorabilia, Accolade Parade, composed by Sarah on the verses of the very fashionable last years of the medieval Sufi Rumi, shrouded in an aura of mystery Fata Morgana with a gorgeous drum part, dedicated to the memory of one of Sarah Kenny Wheeler's favorites, the composition Wheel Remember ... although almost all of the tracks are worth noting. A very worthy album that you want to listen to more than once!”
“This beautiful record by vocalist Sarah Jerrom draws together a mix of jazz, folk and pop music. Jerrom also plays piano and is joined by Harley Card (guitar/vocal), Rob McBride (acoustic bass) and Jeff Luciani (drums). Snowblind opens the record and immediately grabs the listener’s attention with soaring and crystalline vocals above gently percussive textures and rich countermelodies. The Persistence of Water features some stellar guitar playing by Harley Card that reminds me of Bill Frisell. Things That Came Out of the Sea rides a subtly Latin groove and Tiny Lights closes the album with a lullaby-like quality. Special guest Joe Lapinski contributes vocal and guitar on the track titled Rose. Other highlights include Accolade Parade, Memorabilia and Sleeping Buffalo Rises.”
“Sarah Jerrom – Dream Logic: intimate inspiration. Good artists steal. If they use references to express themselves, that doesn’t mean they’re derivative; it just means they’re human. At times vulnerable and heavy, other times playful and sardonic, Dream Logic is the latest offering from Toronto singer, songwriter, and pianist Sarah Jerrom. Taking us on nothing short of a musical odyssey—the album clocks in at 13 tracks and almost 70 minutes—Jerrom’s new release covers an array of subjects from grief and infertility to friendship and “plastic stuff.”
Jerrom is joined on this project by drummer Jeff Luciani, bassist Rob McBride, and guitarist Harley Card, all of whom contribute a considerable amount more than what may be expected from sidemen on a vocal jazz album. And on the subject of genre, vocal jazz may technically be correct, but, let’s just say it’s more complicated than that. Instrumentally, Dream Logic checks all the vocal jazz boxes. However, in terms of composition and arrangement, Jerrom rides along the border of jazz, folk, and pop for much of the album, often on a track-to-track basis. The opening track “Snowblind”, for example, which is set to an uptempo hi-hat-centric rhythm, reads more like prog rock than jazz—at least until the solos start. But once the call-and-response melody (featuring Card on secondary vocals) comes back at the end of the tune with its increasingly multi-layered vocal harmonies, the energy comes to a head and it almost sounds like the number at the end of the first act of a modern musical. All of this works really well to set up what we’re about to hear for the next hour. Songs like “Illusions”, “Sleeping Buffalo Rises” and “Things That Came Out Of The Sea” are a few examples of the more straight-ahead contemporary jazz selections, Jerrom clearly borrowing influence from Norma Winstone or Kenny Wheeler’s work here. The net is cast a little wider with tracks like “Fata Morgana” featuring overdubbed vocal harmonies and front-and-center guitar effects. “Memorabilia” is the darkest and most emotionally intense cut; it contains some of the more striking harmonic moments and is one of the grander feeling arrangements, conjuring a wall of sound during the guitar solo with use of bowed bass and hefty piano voicings. In fact, I feel like this is a composition that could definitely be revisited in the future and be further elevated by a larger production. Despite the moody nature of some of the aforementioned tracks, I feel the artist is at her most vulnerable when the singer/songwriter influence is prominent. “Accolade Parade” is like an up-to-date take on Steely Dan’s style of songwriting and arrangement. I think “Rose” is the hidden gem of the album and it’s an indie-americana ballad, with some Frisellian twang-olo thrown in from Card. And I’ll be frank, there are shades of Joni Mitchell all over this record, from the verbose lyrical delivery on Harley Card’s “Plastic Stuff” to the exact E minor-eleventh voicing from “Court and Spark” when the vocals come in on “The Persistence of Water”. But don’t get me wrong, these were the parts of the album that I enjoyed the most. I mention influences pretty often in my reviews. I know that this is just my own interpretation and I may very well be completely off the mark when I point them out. But every now and then, when an artist has a clear vision and little constraint to create within, they can show you exactly what is inspiring them. When I hear this, I can’t help but relate to it, and more deeply if I too am inspired by that same work. These moments of inspirational clarity on Dream Logic are not only what I consider to be the highlights of the album, but they are what I feel defines this as a capital-J Jazz record more than any other attribute. Jazz as a genre and a tradition contains a practice of direct and indirect musical interpolation and self-reference, i.e. the use of quotes, licks, and established chord changes to oft-played tunes. Jerrom using the “Court and Spark” chord is no different. Hearing it felt the same as hearing somebody busting out one of those long, over-the-barline Bird licks at a jam session or J Dilla sampling the Isley Brothers on “Bye”. The term “good artists steal” comes to mind, however it has always felt a bit reductive to me. Does one steal their parents’ accent? Are you stealing that joke you’re sure will crack up a particular friend? If an artist is using a reference to express themselves, that doesn’t mean they’re being derivative, it usually just means they’re human. With Dream Logic, Sarah Jerrom simply uses allusion as another tool from her toolbox, along with the use of strong melody writing, compelling storytelling—both in the form of lyrics and musical arrangement—to craft what is a beautiful, unique, and deeply personal work, which is all any artist can ask for.”
THE YEATS PROJECT
"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 January 2018
"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, Jan. 1 2018
"Vocalist Sarah Jerrom 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, Dec. 14 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, Nov. 28 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, Nov. 5 2017
“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, 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, November 2017 Issue
“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, “Five Women XII” AllAboutJazz.com, Nov. 1, 2017
“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, “New in the KUCI Jazz Library”
– Oct. 19, 2017
“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 ”CD Reviews” – Volume 12 Number 2, Fall 2007
“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 “Music and Dance Reviews”, May 2009 Issue
“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
“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