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.

– Richard Bourcier

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