Veronica Nunn | American Lullaby

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Jazz: Jazz Vocals Jazz: Traditional Jazz Combo Moods: Type: Improvisational
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American Lullaby

by Veronica Nunn

This is a modern jazz album steeped in tradition - full of risk for a vocalist, but never strays from the beauty of the song.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Vocals
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Medley for Jordan - American Lullaby/Not While I'm Around
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5:40 $0.99
2. Don't Be Blue
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4:34 $0.99
3. This Joy
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5:56 $0.99
4. I Loves You Porgy
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4:53 $0.99
5. Living Room
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5:23 $0.99
6. You Know You're In Love
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4:48 $0.99
7. Green Finch & Linnet Bird
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5:12 $0.99
8. The Meaning of the Blues
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7:59 $0.99
9. On A Wonderful Day Like Today
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6:18 $0.99
10. It Might As Well Be Spring
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7:26 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
\"Nunn is very much, her own stylist and sounds like no one else . . . I look forward to more by this talented singer and her group.\"

Jazz Improv Magazine – Volume 4, Number 3
\"She sings with skill and confidence and swings mightily on a mix of jazz chestnuts, popular show tunes and originals.\"

Cadence Magazine, Vol. 31 No. 2, February 2005
\"Unmistakably, this is an exceptional debut . . .\"

\"Working with Veronica for almost the last ten years has been a pleasure, both personally and musically. Aside from the fact that she always sings perfectly in tune and, emotionally, from a place inside the lyrics, she possesses that rarest and most prized of musical gifts, a beautiful voice.\"
- Singer Songwriter Michael Franks

\"Veronica Nunn is one of the brightest new jazz singers to come along in quite a while. She\'s original, discerning, independent, and purely swinging.\"
- Clive Davis, New York Daily News

\"Veronica Nunn has an unmistakable sound, a rich timbre at once intimate and reserved. Perfect time and remarkable vocal control make her ballads and fast tempos equally intriguing. And can she swing!\"
- Stuart Troup, New York Newsday

\"Nunn is very much, her own stylist and sounds like no one else . . . . I look forward to more by this talented singer and her group.\"
- Richard Bourcier,

\"It\'s been a long time since I\'ve heard a real jazz singer!\"
- Renowned jazz critic Stuart Troupe, upon hearing a Veronica Nunn demo tape being played on the house system at Sweet Basil, New York City, 1996

\"When I give my love to you,\' the sensual, steamy duet performed by Michael Franks with featured singer Veronica Nunn was the highlight of the evening. Her voice complimented his as it laced around the melody, ending with a moving vocalese solo, that had the audience on their feet in applause.\"
- Los Angeles Times Excerpt from Michael Franks review at the Strand in Los Angeles

Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, the musical experience of Veronica Nunn began almost at birth. From the time she was an infant she was surrounded by music. Her father played trumpet and her mother, a lover of movie musicals, encouraged the young Veronica to dance, play piano, and sing. By the age of four, she had begun her singing career. Frequently featured in school assemblies from kindergarten throughout high school, this would serve as the foundation for performance on stage. The church choir would also be a major influence in her life. She started singing jazz at age 12 in clubs around the state, working with local legendary jazz artists Art Porter, Sr. and Bob Steele. She also performed for political functions of former president Bill Clinton, then governor of Arkansas.

Right before her 20th birthday, Veronica moved to New York. Working on her BA in Theology and holding down various jobs, she sang for four years on the New York circuit. It was during this time that she became the protégé of Big Nick Nicholas and began performing in clubs throughout Harlem. Through Big Nick\'s introductions and tutelage, Veronica soon formed alliances with musicians that would be instrumental in her jazz education - Eddie Chamblee, Doc Cheatum, Eddie Durham, and Donald Smith, to name a few.

Veronica had another musical turn when she found herself working with singer/songwriter and guitarist Franklin Micare, and they performed for five years as a duo, singing jazz and original tunes of strong rhythm & blues and rock & roll origin. Their unique style led the duo to Switzerland, where Veronica worked and lived for the next three years. There she began writing and performing original tunes which were recorded by local Swiss musicians.

In 1985, she returned to New York and continued on the jazz scene performing with Bross Townsend, Bob Cunningham, James Carter, Travis Shook, Rodney Kendricks, Andy McCloud, Eric Lewis, Buddy Williams, and Charles Blenzig. While performing with her own jazz trio in clubs around the city, she connected with Warner Brother\'s recording artist, Michael Franks. She has toured the world with Mr. Franks since 1993 and has been featured on \"Island Christmas,\" a duet on his latest Christmas release Watching the Snow. She has also appeared with Michael Franks at New York\'s Lincoln Center for an all-star tribute to the late Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Veronica has also performed with Red Norvo, Eddie Harris, Spanky Davis, Ram Ramirez, Ron McClure, Café, Manolo Badrena, Michael Bowie, Ira Coleman, Jay Anderson, Steve Nelson, Xavier Davis, Oscar Neves, Jao Jobim, Astrid Jobim, Sting, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, and Mark Egan.

American Lullaby is her first solo album. Other recordings to her credit are Michael Franks\' Watching the Snow, the latest 2004 Christmas release; Jazz to the World (Blue Note), a various artist Christmas compilation; Takeshi Ito\'s Groove Island (Atlantic Records); Various Artists Music-lectic: Striking a Chord, a benefit compilation for the victims of the San Diego fires; Randy Parsons\' Randy Parsons and Friends, and a children\'s album entitled The Ocean of Love. She is also featured on Travis Shook\'s, Awake and Travis Shook Plays Kurt Weill. Her second solo CD, Standard Delivery, is scheduled to be released on Dead Horse Records in the winter of this year.

Veronica describes American Lullaby as a process for defining her musical journey, stamped with a very personal vision. With a voice reminiscent of early Abbey Lincoln and Carmen McCrea, Veronica calls herself a \"jazz traditionalist,\" steeped in the concept of singers as instrumentalist and driven by the influences of blues, soul, classical, and folk music. The album is smooth and accessible, full-bodied jazz, musically rich and inventive.

Veronica and her quintet give fresh jazz interpretations to a careful selection of lesser-recorded tunes, including Abbey Lincoln and Max Roach\'s \"Living Room,\" a metaphor for giving two people plenty of space for the relationship to grow. Also included are Stephen Sondheim\'s \"Green Finch & Linnet Bird\" and \"Not While I\'m Around,\" both taken from 1979 London\'s Sweeney Todd. The musical thriller is about an unjustly exiled barber who slices up his clients as a way of enacting revenge for the rape of his wife and his subsequent frame-up by a corrupt judge. With the assistance of a lovesick baker named Ms. Lovett, the clients\' remains are then used as filling for her pies. Although gruesome, if the two songs are taken out of the context of the play, they stand as strong melodies with oddly positive and insightful lyrics.

Legendary singer/songwriter Michael Frank\'s \"Don\'t Be Blue\" is another comment on possessing a positive attitude when it comes to life and love. The album also includes familiar songs such as Gershwin\'s \"I Loves You Porgy\" and Rogers & Hammerstein\'s \"It Might As Well Be Spring,\" as well as a Veronica Nunn original, \"You Know You\'re in Love\" and a piece by multi-instrumentalist Gerry Niewood entitled \"This Joy,\" to which Veronica added lyrics.

The album\'s careful and subtle orchestration provides ample room to showcase the exceptional talents of the rest of the band: Travis Shook (piano), Jennifer Vincent (bass), Jaz Sawyer (drums & percussion), Kebbi Williams (tenor sax), and Ron Westray (trombone).

Veronica produced the album together with her husband, acclaimed jazz pianist Travis Shook. American Lullaby is the first of a set of 3 CDs known as the Systems Two Trilogy, recorded on the Woodstock-based label Dead Horse Records. The two and a half day recording session in February 2000 also produced two other releases, Travis Shook\'s Plays Kurt Weill, in which she is featured on two highly-textured selections, \"Lost in the Stars\" and \"Lonely House\", and Shook\'s Awake, in which she makes a cameo appearance on Bob Dorough\'s quirky \"Nothing Like You.\"

Veronica Nunn - vocalist
Travis Shook - piano
Jennifer Vincent - bass
Jaz Sawyer - drums
Ron Westray - trombone
Kebbi Williams - tenor sax


to write a review

Richard Bourcier

American Lullaby is the debut solo CD for New York based Veronica Nunn and it’s a fine effort. The Arkansas born jazz singer moved to the Big Apple 20 years ago where she was mentored by jazz luminaries Doc Cheatham, Eddie Chamblee, Eddie Durham, Ram Ramirez and Big Nick Nicholas. She toured for seven years with singer Michael Franks and counts Carmen McRae and Abbey Lincoln as her early influences.

Nunn has a very warm presence and a great ear for a tune. There are a couple of Veronica Nunn originals and some wonderful items by Stephen Sondheim, Rogers & Hammerstein, the Gershwins and Michael Franks. I especially single out her tasty version of Bobby Troup and Leah Worth’s “The Meaning of the Blues.” Older folks will fondly recall the recording by Troup’s wife of 39 years, the late Julie London. Veronica handles the song beautifully with some great accompaniment by her pianist/husband Travis Shook. Shook performed regularly with Betty Carter and Gino Vanelli.

Nunn is very much, her own stylist and sounds like no one else. Another outstanding vehicle for Veronica is “Living Room” penned by Abbey Lincoln and Max Roach. The tune features a nice solo by trombonist Ron Westray whose style is original and very impressive. Westray also appears on two other tracks. The singer leaves ample space for the instrumentalists to stretch out and show their stuff.

In summary, this is a very good debut CD and I look forward to more by this talented singer and her group.

franco sorrenti

Veronica, for the lovers of vocal jazz, is a pleasant discoverya. I think that she Stepped out of a dream, for her smooth and soulful voice, in perfcect sincrony with the arrangements. In every situation she sang with a lot of feeling, enthusiasm and a full range of nuances that enforced her emotional atmosphere and seduce the listeners. A great voice, for a great artist.

Deborah M. Sanders

Fantastic! Moving, Impressive. Makes you want to listen all night long.

David J Sullivan

A Wonderful Debut
After hearing snippets of this at, I had to track down the album. Veronica Nunn sings with strength, nuance, verve and grace. The musicians with her help the cause. I think her own works come through best, but really I find all of the tracks very, very nice. Occassionaly I find the instrumental solos a bit protracted, but I imagine it was hard to temper everyone's enthusiasm and this album has enthusiasm aplenty.

Ken Franckling - Jazz Improv Magazine (2004) V4 Number 3

If you've wondered what happened to promising pianist Travis Shook since his brief time with Columbia Records yielded only one CD in 1993 before the label cut him loose, here's a partial answer. He's now playing very nice piano in the band of his wife, New York-based singer Veronica Nunn, on her self-produced debut recording. And a very fine CD it is.

She sings with skill and confidence and swings mightily on a mix of jazz chestnuts, popular show tunes and originals. The opener, with a fine supporting solo from Kebbi Williams on tenor sax, is a medley dedicated to Nunn's niece. It combines a sweet and clever tune called "American Lullaby," complete with an investments profession dad who works perhaps too hard, with Stephen Sondheim's "Not While I'm Around." The ensemble with full horn section shines on "Don't Be Blue" by Michael Franks and John Guerin. The dandy "This Joy" features Nunn's words to the Gerry Niewood instrumental. It features Shook on a piano and Nunn's lyrical refrain, "champagne and lemonade was how I began my yesterday." Vivid - and tasty. "I Loves You Porgy" is a lovely extended piano and voice duet on which both Nunn and Shook shine.

"Living Room" is a classic Abbey Lincoln-Max Roach gem in which a room in one's home becomes a metaphor for giving each other ample space for a relationship to grow. There's also a hefty trombone solo from Westray. "Green Finch & Linnet Bird," like "Not While I'm Around," is another of the singer's favorites from Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. Williams adds a fine, crisp solo to Nunn's interpretation. Nunn's trio-backed version of "The Meaning of the Blues" is the album's highest point, filled with nuance and knowing understatement that celebrates the lyrics and intent of the tune by Bobby Troup and Leah Worth.

The full band is aboard again for a fine interpretation of the more recent Anthony Newley-Leslie Bricusse standard "On A Wonderful Day Like Today" from The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd. Nunn closes things out in fine fashion with the rhythm section on another Broadway gem, Rodgers and Hammerstein's,"It Might as Well be Spring."