Always lots happening in the jazz scene in Ontario, but I picked a local Ottawa artist to represent what I think is a kind of nice new direction, I guess I would say, for jazz. A local artist here in Ottawa by the name of Megan Jerome. Young woman, I believe she was a music student at Carleton University, and together with a couple really seasoned, but still young, members of the local jazz scene, Mike Essoudry and Petr Cancura. Petr Cancura is a sax player who’s always been good, has always been a great player. But in the last year or two has just lit himself on fire. I don’t know what’s happened to him–he’s playing has just gone up a notch. And he plays with a lot of different people and this lovely trio with Megan Jerome and Mike Essoudry, and he’s also in the Mighty Popo’s band…A really good record to check out, the Megan Jerome Trio, and the CD’s called Unlonely, which is a nice title. —Bill Stunt, Ontario Regional Music Producer, CBC radio
Anyone still stuck in the Diana Krallspace may find aural escape with Megan Jerome. Vocals and piano, jazzy style, can be stiff, but delivered with spunk its salvation itself. Jerome doesn’t get all caught up in snooty jazz, nor fall back on tired standards, but concocts a cabaret of originals as folky as it is jazzy. Think Victoria Williams without the croak. The trio has a subtle, clear and bouncy delivery, giving the spotlight to a voice that richly deserves it. Who knew crooning could be this much fun? —John Sekerka, X-press
When Queens University booted Megan Jerome out of its mining engineering program a few years back, it did the music world a favour. Seems Jerome was spending too much time at the piano for Queens’ liking, so she transferred to Carleton’s music performance program and, with fellow-Ottawa musicians Petr Cancura and Mike Essoudry, formed a dandy little trio. Call Unlonely, the group’s debut album, jazz if you like, but Jerome blends in enough folk and even country that the album eschews easy classification. What can be said without hesitation is that it bubbles over with interesting melodies and accents, humour to leaven the reflective pieces, and Jerome’s intriguing, occasionally saucy, voice. The one disappointment is that there are only eight tracks to enjoy. —Patrick Langston, The Ottawa Citizen
Megan Jerome’s 1962 Wurlitzer organ rides the whimsical carnival gaiety of her lovely voice and her soulful, clever songs. And her husband Mike Essoudry is a fine percussionist who is closely tuned into the subtle groove of these gems of songwriting. So many bands add layers to the point where such an unique partnership and sense of play may be left unfelt.
—Vincent de Tourdonnet