by J Pepper
Veronneau is a vocal and guitar-based world-jazz ensemble. An effervescent and sparkling intermingling of bossa nova, jazz, samba, swing.
Based in Washington DC, Veronneau has performed in such notable venues as the Kennedy Center, Strathmore, The Hamilton and Blues Alley. Featuring musicians from Canada, UK and USA, Veronneau’s sound has a continental flair that is engaging and captivating.
Their latest offering Love & Surrender is delightful journey through English, French, Spanish and Portuguese tunes that are guaranteed to transport your senses to a higher plane. “Songs of Love,” begins the album with a popish-Latin-infused song featuring guest violinist Dave Kline, who adds just the right flavoring to the track to give it a lilting colorization. Guitarist Ken Avis and David Rosenblatt create a nice dialogue of rhythms and single note acoustic renderings. Vocalist Lynn Veronneau, the groups lead singer and namesake is perfectly poised and styled, her easy-going vocals have a natural appeal and the original lyrics are inspired.
“La Javanaise,” in the hands of Veronneau is charmingly authentic, Lynn is French-Canadian, her introspective and light-hearted approach to this tune creates a romantic amorous feeling. Again, Kline adds his violin to the proceedings with Tom King on accordion, the two play off each other in a call and response dialogue, that adds sensibility to the track.
A hauntingly beautiful ballad “Moons A Harsh Mistress,” that was written by Jim Webb, has become a much-recorded standard, without ever having charted as a single. Webb appropriated the title from the 1966 science fiction novel The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein. The song is especially associated with Glen Campbell, who performed the song on his farewell tour, Judy Collins, and Joe Cocker, who first recorded the song in 1974. Lynn is delicate and emotive, the ensemble respectfully approaches the tunes beauty, keeping the focus on the frailty of the arrangement.
What I like most about the ensemble and its special guests is their ability to carefully create treatments of each tune lending themselves to the story rather than the opportunity to show all their wares in one tune. As you listen to Love & Surrender, you are exposed to the genius of each player in a developing masterful way. Their choice of notes, rhythms, colorizations, and textures are all in service of the tune, or the vocalist. Veronneau’s latest offering Love & Surrender is also aptly titled, a group of highly skilled professionals surrender their greatest love through the expression of their music and you are invited to join the journey and experience a deeper sense and meaning through a collection of well-seasoned performances.