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Cécile Verny Quartet


"We have never played the next song live," Cécile Verny said at the end of last year's concert. "It will be on our new CD." What followed was ‘Talkin’, a pop song with an irresistible groove and one of those tunes you can not get out of your head afterwards. This scene was repeated several times that evening in songs such as, ’Top Shelf Life', ‘The Dream’, and ‘This House’. Too bad that you can not take these little pearls home, was the general consensus. Now you can do just that, the new album is here, and as promised, all the pieces that Cécile Verny and her band played on stage are on it.

It always sounds a little different when jazz musicians play pop songs. Because pop songs are indeed the numbers here on this album, but they are not pieces of the kind which play from the pop radio station. The music of Cécile Verny and her band has nothing superficial about it, it is nothing that would be forgotten immediately after hearing it a single time. Pieces like ‘Kissing The Moon’, ‘My Steps Their Beat’ or ‘The Power To Be' touch the listener's heart, grab ahold of one emotionally. Some say it literally jumps out at them, while others say it crawls under their skin. In any case, the music sticks with them.

For one, it is because of the sound. Every nuance is meticulously set, every single tone from the keyboard is well thought out, each cymbal hit inserted exactly. In these songs there is also space for Bernd Heitzler's upright bass solos, Andreas Erchinger is allowed to spin pirouettes on the piano, Lars Bender brings swing to the drums and simultaneously hammers a crisp funk into his drum heads.  And all of that is still pop, pop with some elements of jazz. Or rather jazz with pop elements? - No matter. The relaxed nonchalance that surrounds the band's 17 compositions, the combo's confident coolness, the understatement that has become accentuated - that's what makes all the difference. That’s how good pop can be, when played by jazz musicians. Just as amazing is the band’s seemingly effortless ability, to transfer the intensity and the sizzling excitement of their concert appearances to the comparatively sober atmosphere of the recording studio.

The song texts are a chapter of their own. First of all one takes them in, because Cécile Verny is singing them. The voice of this magnificent singer, who so masterfully blends jazz, pop, rhythm’n’blues, and soul, must simply have been heard. There are again some, what have almost become expected expressions in their works, such as in ‘I Heard An Angel Singing’ and ‘The Garden Of Love’ recordings of poems from the English poet William Blake, plus in ‘There’s No Way Back’ there is a verse from the Swedish poet Åsa Ericsdotter, and ‘Mon Avenir S’est Envolé’ is based on Bach’s Goldberg Variation No. 15.  If you consciously perceive the text, you will soon realize how subtly the music is tuned to it. ‘Krakatoa Moon’, ‘Kissing The Moon’ or 'New Moon’ are not only representative of the album’s theme as announced in its main title “Moon”, but are also all prime examples that a song is only complete, when both individual aspects are united to create a complete ensemble.

The Cécile Verny Quartet has existed for three decades now. If you work together in a tight knit band for such a long period of time, you get to know each other inside out. However, it would be quite a surprise if each band member did not personally develop and discover new things for themselves. In this regard, there has always been a consensus within the band, to preserve traditions, if they are useful, but also to explore new areas without the fear of trying something out.  They want to maintain their personal style, but also further develop as musicians, composers and arrangers. And finally, continue, what has most likely already become somewhat of a habit after all these years: putting one's own talent at the service of the common cause. Sounds good in theory, but is this also attainable in reality?

Apparently, yes.  As a result we get an album such as Of Moons And Dreams, an album with brilliant songs, an album on which the title is not simply a “place filler”, an album on which ballads and straight groove numbers work together seamlessly, an album which you would rather not ever take out of the player, because you have become addicted to it.  Admittedly, this is rare, but sometimes it just so happens to be

true. When it comes down to the question of whether to call this jazz-pop or pop-jazz, well ultimately, that is irrelevant.


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