Sarah Jerrom – Magpie (ENG review)

Tprrecords – Street date April 1st 2024
Sarah Jerrom – Magpie (ENG review)

Here is an album that, although very aesthetic, will not be aired on Bayou Blue Radio due to a style that is too out of sync with our programming. Upon first listen, I rather felt like it was music tailored for choreography, rather than an album to be quietly listened to. Indeed, the suite “Magpie” – an evocative and transformative musical journey for an expanded jazz orchestra and four voices – was born from a moment of wonder. During a residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts in January 2018, composer Sarah Jerrom observed a gathering of magpies and crows performing a dance in the midst of a winter storm. At the time, Jerrom was working on a deeply personal composition challenging the taboo surrounding pregnancy loss. This experience not only captivated her but also set the narrative trajectory for this new piece. The complex world of magpies became a rich metaphor woven throughout the musical narrative of the suite.
And that’s precisely the idea, music that imposes a narrative, orchestrally magnificent but evoking movement and a desire to tell this story. Other artists have embarked on this kind of path successfully, and honestly, I think if these compositions find a choreographer capable of rising to such a project and drawing out its profound meaning, this work will quietly live on its own. The suite, which premiered on April 6, 2023, in Toronto, is a masterful blend of storytelling and music, guided by the folk rhyme “One for Sorrow.” It takes the listener on a journey through the eyes of its main character, Woman/ Magpie, exploring deep themes such as feminism, infertility, grief, hope, and love. Each of the eight movements of the suite offers a distinct musical experience, seamlessly integrating elements of classical and jazz performance. A quartet of singers led by Jerrom adds another dimension to these dynamic and immersive soundscapes. “Magpie” is a tour de force, an emotional odyssey, a tale of resilience, transformation, and the magic of storytelling through music.
As you can see, all the elements are there to develop a dramaturgy, a blend of jazz and classical music. This work is contemplative, questioning, engaging our intellect. It’s music to be shortened on stage or enjoyed privately in its discographic form, and a real favorite for the quality of this creation.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, March 25th 2024


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