Jacqueline Kerrod

Jacqueline Kerrod

Jacqueline Kerrod

17 Days in December

Orenda Records

South African born harpist Jacqueline Kerrod, has led a fascinating life. After training as a classical harpist, she moved to New York where she played with top orchestras and chamber groups. Aside from her work with mainstream ensembles, she played with experimental new music groups and did sessions for pop stars like Rufus Wainwright and Kanye West.

Improvisation wasn’t a big part of Kerrod’s repertoire until she began working with jazz legend Anthony Braxton. Jacqueline originally joined Braxton’s ensemble for his opera, Trillium J. After working with Braxton on his ZIM Music project, they toured as a duo through Europe and America. (Those performances were released on an Italian label in 2020).

All of these varied experiences set the stage for Kerrod’s debut solo album, 17 Days In December. When the Covid lockdown put live performance on hiatus, Jacqueline set up a project for herself. Everyday for the month of December, she would go to her home studio and improvise for 40 minutes. She improvised on her concert harp and her electric harp without worrying if it would be something she’s release.

Overall, the record reminds me a lot of the ambient experiments Brian Eno. Many of the pieces, like “December 13 : Sunday,” have a gossamer floating quality that lends itself to meditation or active listening. It’s not all light and airy though. “December 21 : Chatterbox” features an excursion on the electric harp that sounds more like a Henry Kaiser guitar solo, Kerrod gets an amazing array of sounds and textures buy using some non-standard techniques. :December 28 : Glassy Fingers” finds her using a small glass bowl on the strings. “December 29 : Rust on Bow” finds her using a viola bow to produce long, drones.

There’s an old joke about not wanting to go to heaven if all you get to hear are harps. If the heavenly harpists are as inventive and unbound by convention ads Jacqueline Kerrod, it might just be ok.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

From the Archives