Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Veronneau Jazz Samba Project VMU 2012

Not many critics will openly admit bias...The samba and bossa nova are my two musical sweet spots. In 1962 Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd laid down a recording that is monumental in the history of jazz and fifty years later Jazz Samba continues to influence musicians across the globe.

Enter Veronneau's Jazz Samba Project.

I listened to this recording perhaps ten times and for me it is one of the more addictive samba records released in the last several years. The reason this Jazz Samba Project works so incredibly well is they take an epic recording from 1962 and hit fast forward to 2012 without losing the authenticity of integrity of the music. While they do not cover the Getz/Byrd recording in it's entirety they take carefully selected tunes and add some slightly more contemporary flavor with songs such as Bob Marley's "Waiting In Vain" and create their own riff on the samba.

Vocalist Lynn Veronneau does the lyrics in English as well as French and Portuguese. Don't worry about translation here, none needed. Combine the three covers from the Getz/Byrd recording along with some bossa nova tunes of contemporary jazz classics and you have what for me is the original soul music. Welcome to the land of rhythm and groove as this is music you feel in your hips and hear with your feet. This 4tet is on point every step of the way starting with the Marley cover previously mentioned and moving to "One Note Samba" from the 1962 recording. Veronneau is the jazz vocal version of the sexy little black dress and her whimsical yet sexy spin on "One Note Samba" is simply spot on. "Samba Saravah" is a syncopated delight, bright and breezy with an incredible organic pulse that develops within the tune. "Autumn Leaves" was a 1945 original from Jacques Prevert until American composer Johnn Mercer adopted the tune and added English lyrics. Starting a capella the tune catches a bossa nova groove with a seamless transition and breathes new life into a classic. Ken Avis and David Rosenblatt provide the perfect counterpoint for each other on acoustic guitar. Drummer Pete Walby plays with the appropriate amount of finesse required to keep the groove smoldering and hot.

Doing a samba/bossa nova record is at times a musical roll of the dice. Some artist simply use the samba rhythm and then head for the commercial hills. Jazz Samba Project while contemporary celebrates the originality of the original Jazz Samba recording while making an incredibly viable artistic statement on their own.

Veronneau's Jazz Samba Project makes my musical back leg shake, simple as that.

Tracks: E Luxo So; Waiting In Vain; September Moon; Mas Que Nada; Meditation; One Note Samba; Samba Saravah; Samba Triste; Autumn Leaves; Wave.

Personnel: Lynn Veronneau: vocal; Ken Avis: acoustic guitar, vocals; David Rosenblatt: acoustic guitar; Pete Walby: drums.

Featured Guests: Jeff Antoniuk: tenor saxophone (1,6,8,10); Alejandro Lucini: percussion (all tracks); Jim McFalls: trombone (1,2,3,4,5,9).