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Juliet Varnedoe Jazz Band Release 'Cajun Bleu'

Juliet Varnedoe Jazz Band Release 'Cajun Bleu'

Courtesy Mariana Meraz

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The playing is excellent, and her voice is clear and expressive. The prominent role of the accordion in early jazz is often neglected, and while this music is not 'traditional' on the whole, you are reminded of that...She has a great lyrical sense in both composition and delivery with lines memorable and full of recognition... This is music with cross-generational appeal.
—Joe Bebco, Syncopated Times
Juliet Varnedoe
Innovative New York-based jazz vocalist songwriter Juliet Varnedoe is set to release her debut album Cajun Bleu on April 12th 2024, presenting her imaginative interpretation of Cajun musical traditions.

As a producer and songwriter, Varnedoe brings a highly original blend of music that combines New Orleans blues with the French cabaret drama of Juliette Gréco and the lyrical wit of Blossom Dearie.

Growing up in Louisiana with a German father and Cajun mother, Juliet’s formative years were filled with sounds of Acadian folk songs, jazz standards, and classical piano lessons.

With over a decade of moves across the United States, Juliet returned to her native Louisiana after receiving a Don QuixoteGrant and Macdowell Fellowship that enabled her to study Cajun French and Acadian music in the Bayou Teche region. It was here that the seeds of Cajun Bleu were planted.

The result not only presents a fresh, authentic twist on the rich and varied American music tradition, but narrates a tale of independence, exploration, nostalgia, and self-discovery, as seen through the lens of a resilient Cajun spirit that steadfastly moves to preserve the unique French American culture in the southeastern lands.

The assembled musicians offer a unique mix of instruments that range from the tuba and trombone to the accordion and electric keys, conjuring memories of both the old and new. On one end of the spectrum, Clark Gayton (trombone/tuba) serves as a living link to the past as the great-grand nephew of New Orleans legend Manuel 'Fess' Manetta. On the other hand, drummer Shawn Pelton brings a contemporary flair as the go-to percussionist for the Saturday Night Live TV show. Together, they create a sonic tapestry that can evoke the pioneering spirit of King Oliver's Creole Band one moment and the sultry French sophistication of pop icon Serge Gainsbourg.

The artistic vision was masterfully pulled together by Brooklyn-based producer Ben Rubin, also known for his role as a bassist and mixer at House of Cha Cha. Rubin seamlessly blends the electronic and acoustic sides into one sparkling sonic whole. Coincidentally, Rubin and Varnedoe came close to crossing paths in the '90s at the legendary Bruno’s club, founded by Juliet’s husband, where Ben performed with the Dred Scott trio. They didn’t realize the connection until the project was well underway.

This jazz-infused homage to the past and future of Cajun traditions brings together a rich heritage with a passion for American music that is both nuanced and irresistibly foot-tappingly feel-good.

More info & press requests: [email protected]

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Track Listing

Sing High Sing Low; Old Spot; Mon Chéri; Far Away; Petite Fleur; Bon Rétablissment

Personnel

Album information

Title: Cajun Bleu | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Self Produced


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