Our exclusive interview with Veronneau.

Veronneau, has enjoyed a remarkable 2012. Their sophomore album the, “Jazz Samba Project,” was successful, receiving praise from various publications and  was our favorite release of 2012.  As the year comes to an end we interviewed the band to find out about their latest work, what the future has in store and more.

Veronneau+bossa nova


BNovamusic:We know the album was inspired by bossa nova but are there any artists in particular you want to single out as being particularly influential?

Veronneau: Jobim and Gilberto Joao created so many wonderful songs that they are the bedrock of influence for us so far as bossa nova is concerned. We’re also struck by the work of the guitarist Baden Powell – inevitable with Veronneau having two acoustic guitar players in the band. This album features two of his tracks, Samba Saravah and Samba Triste, the instrumental which is very rarely covered though it did feature on the orginal Jazz Samba. There are videos of Baden Powell on Youtube and he was a truly amazing guitarist worth checking-out.

BN: Which song on the album is your favorite?

Veronneau: The whole band gets a lot of energy when we play E Luxo So live. It’s such a sensuous piece which fits well with the subject of the Portuguese lyric about the seductive movement of a young Brazilian dancer. We also enjoy the audience response to our ‘bossification’ of Bob Marley’s Waiting in Vain. Occasionally we get people telling us they were skeptical about us trying to cover a Marley tune, but in the end it wins them over. At one show we even had someone film the song on a cell-phone and then send it to the Marley family, they liked it so much! The acapella opening to Autumn Leaves is also a favorite moment and has a lot of impact live.

BN:What was the difference in the process behind making this album as compared with the first?

Veronneau: The first album, Joie de Vivre, was very diverse with French gypsy jazz, swing and bossa nova. As our debut it was a collection of songs which we love and which audiences reacted positively too. Jazz Samba Project, in contrast, was concept driven. We realised it was the 50th anniversary of the Stan Getz/Charlie Byrd original which had introduced bossa nova to a global audience. We spent a year researching, meeting the remaining musicians from that recording, writing about the evolution of the music and then set out, using the songs of Jazz Samba as a springboard, to chart how that landmark recording had impacted the world. In so doing we chose bossa nova’s which emerged in France as well as Brazil and re-arranged some contemporary and classic jazz songs into the bossa nova rhythm. We also enjoyed augmenting the core acoustic guitar and vocal driven sound of Veronneau with horns and additional percussion, that was a lot of fun.

BN:What was the most difficult aspect behind creating this album?

Veronneau: The biggest challenge was in bringing it to the attention of the media. Luckily it was recognized that we weren’t just copying the original Jazz Samba but honoring it’s impact and reviewing its global spread. The reviews have been very positive in the traditonal jazz world, which was quite a relief! We recorded the CD live in the studio to get as close as possible to our live sound, no click tracks and minimal overdubs. That’s not the way most recordings happen anymore but we enjoyed it greatly.

BN: What does the future have in store for the group?

Veronneau: The group is just 3 years old and so far we’ve enjoyed 2 CD’s charting in the top 10 of the Jazz and World music charts in the USA, plus we’ve played shows in the UK, Canada and US. Our website has fans from over 100 countries world-wide so we’ve created quite a buzz and given the current state of the music industry, particularly for music such as jazz, we’ve had to do it alone as indie performers. We would love to tour more widely in Latin America and Asia, particularly, as we have so many fans there. Our next challenge is to make this happen with festival and club dates.

The Jazz Samba Project CD is on the Grammy ballot this year so it would be great if we could get into the nominations as a means of becoming more visible to audiences and promoters.

We’re always working on new material so another CD in the next 12 months isn’t out of the question either!