I couldn't be more proud: my debut album 'La fille et le saxophone' is finished and out! I've worked on it for more than a year together with pianist Tobias Borsboom and I can't wait to show everyone. Where should I start? First, this album is very personal because it contains a few of my most beloved (French) works for saxophone and piano. This music has been a big part of my life so far, on a personal level but also in my development as a musician. That's why choosing the program for my first solo album wasn't too difficult. To name a few: I've recorded the beautiful Aria by Eugène Bozza, a piece with a decidedly warm and French character; it's introspection and sweet nostalgia give it the air of a French chanson. Decruck's sonata in C sharp minor resembles the start of spring to me. An arrangement of Poulenc's sonata for oboe and piano could not be missed on this album due to my connection with Dutch oboist Pauline Oostenrijk, my inspirator from an early age.
But there's also new music included, as it's important not only to keep on expanding the saxophone repertoire but also to allow a new generation of talented composers to have their say. Dutch composer Celia Swart wrote a new piece for this album: Les secrets de l'air. Celia and me both grew up in Zeeland (the south of Holland). She kept the sea, wind and skies of Zeeland in mind when she composed this piece for soprano saxophone and piano. Speaking of Zeeland: my father Huug Steketee (solo trumpet of The Hague Philharmonic) composed his Lullaby in 1996 for cornet and brassband. I was still a child and every night from my bed I could follow the progress of a new work as it took shape in the attic above me. Because it's so close to my heart, I've arranged the piece for alto saxophone and piano.
La fille et le saxophone tells the story of a young women dealing with all aspects of life such as love, lost, uncertainties and lust for life. The young and talented illustrator Rhaida el Touny is dedicated to depicting powerful women. Her style appealed to me because of its colourful elements and its sly references to pop art. I saw a direct connection between her illustrations and my musical story in the way she portrays young women from different ethnic backgrounds and also addresses subjects that everyone has to deal with in life. I therefore asked her to make an illustration for each piece on my album. She created a series of eight illustrations that I find match the themes of this CD perfectly: dreaming, letting go and moving onwards, zest for life, love, adventure, and playfulness.
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