New York based singer songwriter Juliet Varnedoe developed her musical foundation in the bayou lands of southeast Louisiana surrounded by Cajun French, New Orleans jazz, and Acadian traditional songs. Her years of performance in New York cabaret clubs and swing dance halls solidifies her stage persona as a Cajun French chanteuse, a unique American voice sharing the joie de vivre of the Cajun people.
Mon Cheri is the first single release from her debut album Cajun Bleu featuring Juliet Varnedoe Jazz Band. This is a collection of eight original blues and jazz songs which intertwines influences such as classic New Orleans swing of King Oliver Creole Band, French chanson such as Blossom Dearie and Juliette Greco, and the cool electronic vibe of Serge Gainsborough. Steeped in the American jazz tradition she creates a Cajun French style music all her own. Mon Cheri is a fresh, modern take on traditional New Orleans blues.
Juliet’s cool, emotive tone evokes the subtlety of Melody Gardot and the clarity of Blossom Dearie. She has been backed by premier jazz musicians from the New York swing and cabaret scene. Showcasing skills as a lyricist, writer, and arranger, she infuses her jazz vocals with the soul of blues.
This musical outpouring has been coming for a long time. Despite her musical passion, her work life took her on a detour. She received her MFA in photography at San Francisco Art Institute and her MA at Bard College. She has been awarded numerous grants for her artistic and educational work. Her most recent award (Don Quixote Grant) allowed her to return to her native home to study Cajun French and Acadian music in the Bayou Teche region of Louisiana. It was here that she began her musical journey back and wrote the demos for her album. Mon Cheri is a story of leaving home for love. It is the first of the series of stories of the Cajun people who maintain their unique French American culture in the southeastern lands of Louisiana.
With her self-produced demos, she sought out a producer and found Brooklyn based producer and bassist Ben Rubin from the House of Cha Cha. As they began working together they discovered that they had a musical connection with Bruno’s, a popular jazz club in the late 90’s in the San Francisco Mission District. They worked together to seamlessly combine electronic and acoustic instruments, assembling an impressive group of jazz musicians:
Clark Gayton, trombone and tuba
Jon Dryden, accordion
Konrad Meissner, drums
Juliet Varnedoe, Keyboard
Ben Rubin, Bass
Mastered by Joel Kerr and Gene Paul at G&J Audio