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Biography

Vita

• 1969: born in Abidjan (Ivory Coast)

• 1981: move to France

• 1987: founding of the ”Cécile Verny Quartet” (CVQ), since then regular tours domestically and abroad and 10 CD released in this formation to date.

• 1989: move to Germany (Freiburg)

• 1992: first prize at the festival competition ”Vocal de Jazz de Crest” (France)

• 1995 receives the distinguished ZMF Award/Career grant from the Zelt Musik Festivals” in Freiburg for her outstanding artistic work

• 2002 together with the pianist Gottfried Böttger (among others, the pianist of the TVbroadcast 3past9/NDR) she founds the gospel project "I'm On My Way"

• 2003 was awarded not only the first prize in the category vocal jazz as part of the renowned international competition Antibes/Juan-les-Pins (France), but was also distinguished by the ”Grand Prix du Jury” for her work with the Cécile Verny Quartet (CVQ)

• 2004 nominated for the Jazz Prize granted by the State of Baden-Württemberg, Germany

• 2005 her first solo CD "European Songbook", on which she presents interpretations of jazz standards from European composers, is released

• Between 2006 and 2017 regular collaborations with the WDR Big Band directed by Michael Abene, Ansgar Striepens, Rich de Rosa.

• 2006 the CD ”The Bitter And The Sweet”, produced by CVQ, is distinguished by the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Prize of German Record Critics(Bestenliste 2/2006)

• 2008:The Cecile Verny Quartet is awarded „European Jazz Prize“ granted by European Endowment for the Arts “Pro Europa”

the prize was awarded at the European Parlament, Strassburg.

• 2011: New Years concert in Freiburg with the Freiburg Philharmonic Orchestra 

• Sommer 2012 Das CVQ is invited by Joy of Jazz, a festival in Johannesburg, (with the support of Goethe Institut), and travels to South Africa and Lesotho where they perform four concerts

 • 2013: vocal schooling at Complete Vocal Insitute in Copenhagen

  (1 year singer course) 

• 2014: CVQ celebrates the 25th Anniversary and releases “Memory Lane” (a live CD as well as a DVD)

• 2015 concerts in Switzerland and Spain with Lynne Arriale and Grace Kelly

• Sommer 2015 collaboration with Aniko Drabon (Author of "Tastenzauber" a very successful piano teaching method for children) book and CD (with vocals) to be released in 2017 by Mitropa music.

• September 2015: beginning of a collaboration with the Siauliai Big Band (Lithuania) directed by Raitis Asmanis.

• 2015 to 2017 Many invitations to Latvia and Lithuania to play “A tribute to Ella Fitzgerald” with the Jelgava Big Band conducted by Raitis Asmanis.

• Juni 2016 concert with the WDR Big Band and the WDR Choir, excerpts from Duke Ellington's “Sacred Concert”, directed by Rich de Rosa

• February 2017 Baltic-Tour “Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald” with Raitis Asmanis and different Big Band (Riga, Jelgava, Siaulai, Tartu)

• October 2018 beginning of a new format called Singalong in duet with Christian Gutfleisch. Both musicians are on stage, the lyrics on screens and the audience is singing.

• Throughout 2019 she is celebrating 30 years of Cecile Verny Quartet and releases in Mai “Of Moons and dreams” the 10th CD with CVQ.
· In June, concerts in Lithuania with the “Klaipeda Jazz Orchestra”
· In October her first project/CD with only german songs in german( “Mein Liedgut” with Johannes Maikranz on the guitar) will be released on GLM (Label from Munich)


Discography (summary):

• 2019

May “Of Moons and Dreams” (CVQ)

 October “Mein Liedgut”

• 2014 Memory Lane (Live CD &DVD) /(CVQ)

• 2013 Fear&Faith (CVQ)

• 2011 Intuit "Voyage Nr2"

• 2010 Keep Some Secrets Within, Cécile Verny Quartet (CVQ)

• 2008 Cécile Verny & WDR Big Band Celebrating Billie Holiday

• 2008 Amoureuse Cécile Verny Quartet

• 2006 The Bitter And The Sweet, Cécile Verny Quartet

• 2005 European Songbook, Cécile Verny

• 2004 Intuit, "Intuit"

• 2003 I'm On My Way, Cécile Verny/Reiner Regel/Gottfried Böttger

• 2002 Kekeli, Cécile Verny Quartet

• 1999 Métisse, Cécile Verny Quartet

• 1998 Got A Ticket, Cécile Verny Quartet

• 1997 Coquelicot – Melodie de vie, Cécile Verny Quartet für IRCAD

• 1995 Expressive Impressionen, Cécile Verny Quartet

• 1995 Patchwork, Cécile Verny Quartet für Jazz D’Or

• 1995 Dimba, Tschisungu Kalomba & Kassala


Noteworthy Additions:

• Januar 2008: concert with Nicholas Payton & WDR Big Band: Payton Words and Music

• April 2008concert with Nicholas Payton at New-Orleans Jazz Festival

• April 2008: studio recording with Rue Protzer, Thomas Rueckert, Marc Johnson, Adam Nussbaum

• Sept 2008: Cécile Verny & WDR Big Band Celebrating Billie Holiday

• März 2009: concert with "Sisters" and the WDR Big Band

• July 2009: collaboration between CVQ and Freiburg Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Enrique Ugarte

• Since 2009 on the Board of Trustees of Freiburger AIDS-Hilfe

• Since 2010 voluntary work at „Freiburger Tafel“


Cécile Verny

A passionate, world-renowned Singer and yet she has never been given conventional voice lessons. Her home is Jazz – but time and again she dauntlessly and skillfully takes excursions to Soul, Blues, Afro and Rock. Ivorian, French, cosmopolitan and yet still strongly rooted in her home of choice South-Baden. An energetic, power woman on stage, whose greatest hobby, aside from cooking and sewing, is sleeping. And still a woman exuding the joy of life, who does not ignore the dark side of humanity through her charitable work. Whoever meets Cécile Verny, if in concert, or privately on CD, they are introduced to an all-around coherent personality, who lives her art and for whom her life means art. 

Cécile Verny was born in Abidjan, the capital of the Ivory Coast, where she spent a sunny and happy childhood. At the age of 12 she moved to France, and the pain of leaving Africa is immense. Although in her new homeland she quickly internalizes the “Savoir-Vivre” of the French, and expands her musical interests. First she looks towards Pop, Reggae, Soul and Funk. Then at the age of 17, she has a chance encounter with Jazz when she sings at a Jazz Club during her Law Degree.

She quickly put pencil to paper, hardly had she discovered this new genre, and had already begun to write her own texts. In French and in English which, at that time was almost unheard of. She developed her own voice, music theory and voice lessons did not take place until much later. In October of 1987 she formed the Duet or rather the Trio “Cécile Sings“, which covered modern Jazz and Blues and yet dared to try out their own material as well. From this group formed in 1989 the Cécile Verny Quartet, that uses the short abbreviation CVQ. This quartet line with changing members has remained true to its artistic base and home, which is the core of it’s foundation.

During the beginning phase of CVQ, Freiburg im Breisgau becomes it’s new home base and their haven, from here they swarm out into the wide world of music, but they also always return. In 1992 CVQ came out with their first CD “OAZOO”, on which next to Verny, the bassist Bernd Heitzler advances as a constant creative force. Today, performing along with Verny and Heitzler in the CVQ, are the pianist Andreas Erchinger and drummer Lars Binder. In the following 20 years the quartet has earned an excellent international reputation, they inspire audiences on stages from Paris to Nairobi, from Antibes to Asmara, from South Africa to Latvia. And they have proven themselves on 8 CDs so far, as versatile from African-colors („Métisse“, 1999 and „Kekeli“, 2001), through delicate Jazz poetry („Amoureuse“, 2008), to rock-soulful tones („Fear & Faith“, 2012). In 2006 the CVQ production “The Bitter & The Sweet” convinced the jury of the German record critics and became award winning.

However since the beginning of her career, besides the CVQ, Cécile Verny has demonstrated that she is an artist with many colorful facets. In 2005 she takes a very special excursion: She illuminates the classics written by Europeans from the Great American Songbook, and interprets classics from the pen of Jacques Brel, Charles Trenet or Édith Piaf into exciting new arrangements. For her much acclaimed “European Songbook” she added 3 additional horns to the quartet.

Verny’s voice seems predestined for work with orchestras and big bands, made evident through her numerous team alliances with renowned ensembles. With the WDR Big Band Verny is almost a regular guest: Five times she has entered into a partnership with the ensemble in Cologne, including the highly acclaimed tribute program "Celebrating Billie Holiday" (2008). With the same orchestra she also proves herself in an unexpected role and interprets songs from Zarah Leander.

In her current hometown of Freiburg, she is, partly along with the CVQ, a welcomed celebrity guest with the Philharmonic Orchestra. She has performed twice with this ensemble at the tent-music-festival (ZMF), among other things, as part of a Gerschwin project, and she joined them for a New Year’s concert. Through her work with the large ensembles she is also transcending national boundaries, such as with the symphony orchestra Riga, where she performs as a vocal guest.

Also working with choirs and in the gospel terrain have accompanied her since the beginning of her career: for example , in a collaboration with the Jazz Choir Freiburg, numerous performances and a recording of the Jazz Mass (Joseph Masters) as well as “Missa Gaia” from Paul Winters in Freiburg’s cathedral. In smaller troupes, she has explored gospel sounds with the Hamburger pianist, Gottfried Böttger, and the saxophonist, Reiner Regel.

Collaborations with prominent colleagues, complete the picture of the much sought-after vocal artist, such as, in April of 2008 she performed with Nicholas Payton both in the studio and at the New Orleans Jazz Festival and gave to pieces of the trumpet player’s, specially produced for the occasion’s, repertoire a whole new perspective. Guitarist Rue Protzer invites her in the same year to the studio for the recordings of his quartet album “Rue de Paris”, on which Marc Johnson (b) and Adam Nussbaum (dr) are also involved. And finally in 2009 she participated in the project “Sisters”, which combined the voices of Onejiru, Meli and Nicole Hadfield, of Mamadee, Tamika of Namusoke with the backing of the WDR Big Band, into and Afro-German women’s power band. A collaborative recording with the Strasbourg accordionist, Marcel Löffler (2007), is her dedication to her French roots.

In addition to numerous CD releases with her quartet, Cécile Verny, is able to refer back to a proud catalog of TV and Radio appearances. Her Billie Holiday summit with the WDR Big Band was broadcasted, her memorable appearance at the Antibes Jazz Festival was immortalized on DVD. BR, WDR, SR and NDR all line up to the broadcasters, who document the live quality of the quartet.

Numerous awards crown Verny’s career. In 1992 she is awarded her first prize at the competition of the French festival “Vocal de Jazz de Crest”, it is followed in 1995 by the “Förderpreis” of the Tent Music Festival (ZMF) in Freiburg. Her current hometown also awarded her in 2012 with the “Rudolf-Schneider-Kulturpreis”. At the Antibes Jazz Festival she is twice decorated with first place in the category “Vocal Jazz” and also with the “Grand Prix du Jury” for her work with the quartet. And finally, in 2008 she is acknowledge in the EU-Parliament in Strasbourg with the European Jazz Award for cultural foundation pro-Europe.

Last but not least, Cécile Verny’s private side demonstrates a character, which combines art and life into a harmonious coexistence. The mother of two children (*1997 and 1999) is a passionate cook, especially crossing through the world cultures. Another great passion is for sewing, it is possible that the fans can see her wearing a self-tailored outfit on stage. It is a matter of honor for her to exemplify civil commitment, Cécile Verny, works for the Freiburg Tafel and it a member of the board of trustees for the AIDS-Help of her hometown. With the quartet she also repeatedly performs at charity events.

With their African heritage, their German-French roots and her love of American music Cécile Verny moved safely through style and borders, regardless of whether with her quartet or orchestral context, in a jazz club or on stage, a large concert hall . With her charisma and presence, it is undoubtedly one of the great voices of contemporary European jazz.