Northern Lights is a collective comprised of some of Calgary’s most popular freelance musicians performing a mixture of traditional and contemporary jazz styles. The Northern Lights quartet has evolved from a number of ensembles that have consistently worked toward the development of spacious and interactive music which evokes the unbounded expanse of the Canadian prairies. The configuration of the ensemble varies, drawing on its members Deb Rasmussen (vocals), Keith Smith (guitar), Kai Poscente (bass), Robin Tufts (percussion), Simon Fisk (acoustic bass), John Hyde (acoustic bass) and Bruce Petherick (piano).
Northern Lights repertoire includes songs penned by guitarist Keith Smith, bassist John Hyde and vocalist Deb Rasmussen. Influences include Bill Frisell, Pat Metheney, Charlie Haden, Abby Lincoln and Shirley Horn.
Northern Lights members, together and as members of various ensembles, perform on Calgary’s best club and concert stages. Between them, they have played the breadth of North America, the British Isles and Mongolia and have been heard on over 100 CD’s.
In 2006, Northern Lights headlined at the Giant Steppes International Jazz Festival in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia where they performed in concert and conducted workshops to promote the development of improvisational music in that country. The 2006 trip evolved from earlier collaborations in both Canada and Mongolia that focused on promoting jazz awareness and education for both musicians and audiences. Northern Lights returned to Mongolia in 2008 for the Giant Steppes Festival and to embark on a collaboration with Mongolian traditional musicians. They subsequently toured Canada with Altai-Khangai to celebrate the 35 anniversary of Canada-Mongolia relations and recorded the album, Northern Lights – Altai Khangai.