Born: September 25, 1948 Primary Instrument: Vocal
Soesja Citroen (singer and composer) has brought her music to Dutch and international stages for over 25 years. In recent years, she has been singing her own compositions with pianist Berend van den Berg and bassist Ruud Ouwehand.
She was born in The Hague, was raised with classical music and as a teenager started to sing jazz. After completing her Master’s in social psychology, she opted for jazz and took voice and piano lessons.
She has performed in many European countries, played at the Yatra Jazz Festival in India, sung in New York and toured though Indonesia.
After making three LP’s with, among others, Nedly Elstak, Willem Breuker and Nico Bunink, she recorded her album Soesja Citroen Sings Thelonious Monk in 1983 with Cees Slinger. On this CD, she herself supplied the texts for five Monk compositions.
Between 1984 and 1989 she recorded three albums with the Metropole Orchestra under the direction of Rogier van Otterloo and Robert Farnon. Fifteen of these pieces appear on the compilation CD Yesterdays.
Beginning in 1994, she made her two first CD’s for Challenge Jazz with songs from the American songbook. With reference to the CD Songs for Lovers and Losers (1996), Alex Henderson of All Music Guide wrote, “very soulful phrasing” and “moving and personal interpretations of standards such as Angel Eyes and Lush Life.”
The turning point of her career came when she began composing in 1996.
Her three CD’s, Song for Ma (1998), Soesja Sings Citroen (2001) and Don’t Cry Baby (2005) contain 40 of her own compositions, both music and text. Fifteen of these compositions are compiled on her cd Collected Songs (2008). She received a lot of feedback from the United States, the country whose song tradition Soesja elaborates on with her pieces.
In Jazz Times, she was called “absolutely sensational” and a “formidable composer.” In the Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD from 2004, her Monk CD received 4 stars and her song Song for Ma was called “magnificent.” In the newly released book Jazz Singers: The Top 500 by Scott Yanow she is described as one of the top five hundred vocalists in the world.
Discografie: To Build - Coreco 1980. Good enough for Jazz - Varagram 1981 Key Largo - Turning Point - 1982 Soesja Citroen sings Thelonious Monk - Turning Point 1983, cd Timeless Records 1994. Angel Eyes - Varagram 1984 Soesja Citroen sings Fred Astaire - Varagram 1987 Shall we Dance - Sunny Timeless 1987 Soesja in Silk - Varagram 1989 LIVE - Varagram 1990 Here and Now - Challenge 1994 Songs for lovers and losers - Challenge 1996 Yesterdays - Challenge 1997 Song for Ma - Challenge 1998 Soesja sings Citroen - Challenge 2001 Don’t Cry Baby - Challenge 2005 Collected Songs - Challenge 2008
Penguin Guide writers Richard Cook and Brian Morton awarded the maximum of 4 * and wrote in 2005 about Citroen: - Leading singer on the Dutch scene. - This is a hugely exciting album, worthy of the widest notice. - CD, which carries off its bruised romanticism with great conviction. - The title song Song for Ma is magnificent. - Time she was better known outside her native country. Bruce Crowther reviewed in 2004 the CD Soesja Sings Citroen: Soesja Citroen, a strikingly good singer from The Netherlands. She is also a very good songwriter as is demonstrated on this set as Soesja presents fifteen of her own love songs , all of which are melodically pleasing and have intelligent lyrics. Soesja's sound is mature and assured and the interplay with the clarinet and alto saxophone of Michael Moore is delightful. David Lewis wrote in CADENCE: The atmospheric ballad Place of Silence is a superb song that shows why she deserves recognition as a composer. Marcela Breton wrote in JAZZ TIMES: Dutch vocalist and songwriter Citroen shows herself a formidable composer. Patricia Myers wrote also in JAZZ TIMES: She's absolutely sensational and I hope she arrives on our side of the Atlantic very soon. The German jazzmagazine JazzPodium called Soesja an European Top Jazzsinger. Alex Henderson wrote in the All Music Guide: The thoughtful nature of her English lyrics on her originals seems all the more impressive when you take into account that English is not her native language.
Penguin Guide 8th edition
Soesja Citroen: Don't Cry Baby ***1/2
A mature and polished set of original songs, covering everything from an unexpected late-flowering love to a single parent's bittersweet consolation, this is typical of Citroen in its quiet daring. The bare-bones setting leaves her exposed, but she's in command of the situation, and though much of this is more art-song than jazz, and melodically not exactly captivating, it unfolds convincingly and has cast its own spell by the end.
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