After her acclaimed album Odelion was released in 2019, singer/songwriter Margriet Sjoerdsma continues her journey on Northern Lights with the Odelion Orchestra, a new Stereo DXD recording from Sound Liaison.
Northern Lights features an adventurous line-up of vocals, piano, strings, and brass instruments. The album’s title is an ode to the mystical light that is a phenomenon in Scandinavian nature.
Margriet Sjoerdsma always wanted to make an album with pianist Jeroen van Vliet. And she wanted deep brass on the album and three strings. And so, the Odelion Orchestra was filled with the Westside String Trio – Jeroen van Vliet, Vera van der Bie, and Isabella Petersen – with violin, viola, and cello. The brass group that rounds out the Odelion Orchestra with horn, trombone and bass trombone provides a balanced sound and sufficient bass lines. Sjoerdsma describes the album itself as a song cycle of Folk, Jazz, and Pop, dressed in a chamber music jacket.
On Northern Lights, we have created a sound field that is intimate but also with enough depth to have a visual representation of the instruments. The idea is to let the melodic part of each instrument stand out yet never overshadow the whole. The benefit of this approach is that you can visualize the ensemble in front of you; trombones and French horn left, voice in the middle with the piano placed slightly further to the back and the strings to the right. This is not the commercial radio friendly approach, with the instruments piled on top of each other straight down the middle.
In a sense we are old fashioned, maybe we listened to too many old jazz recordings, but on the other hand as the great Louis Armstrong said; “The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician. Things like old folks singing in the moonlight in the backyard on a hot night or something said long ago”.