When Vincent Zorn and Vedant Koppera first started out in their respective studies of music, neither would have imagined the pairing they’ve undertaken together. Zorn is a gypsy guitarist and world traveler who taught himself to play guitar beginning at age eleven. He has played with Mexico’s Latcho & Andrea as well as flamenco-dance band Last Caravan. Koppera is a classically trained violinist who has been playing since the age of four. It was only after college that Koppera found rock and roll and jazz as new and exciting musical worlds to explore. Together, Vincent & Vedant put a new spin on the melting pot that occurs where folk pop, jazz and country all meet. Vincent & Vedant’s first full length album, We Sing – We Dance, finds the two blending their distinctive styles into a dynamic musical experience that will appeal to music fans across borders and across genres.
Vincent & Vedant kicks things off with the jaunty “Fiddler’s Green”. A bit of Stephane Grappelli inspired violin work is balanced by Vedant’s wonderfully rhythmic guitar style. The latter provides a strong lattice over which the violin can climb with impunity while it dances, lilts and laughs. This toe tapper is highly entertaining and alive with energy. “We Sing – We Dance” is sprightly in feel, with Vincent Zorn changing pace almost indeterminately throughout the piece. “Adventure” is more lyric in nature: pretty and compact but still buzzing with an internal energy.
“Joyful” is aptly named, and with both players seeming to dance with their instruments and with each other. Everything falls into place for Vincent & Vedant on this tune, as the guitar and violin almost seems to become one organic creature at times. Whereas Vincent Zorn has led the way through much of the album, Vedant Koppera steps to the fore on “The Crossing”, which adeptly uses his rhythmic style to both comport and highlight a brilliant melody line. This is a work of art in notes and spaces. “Tarantas” is quietly aggressive, playing up the Mediterranean roots in the melody, which is dark, rich and lovely.
“Eastern Breeze” starts out in safe territory using a simple, rhythmic musical form. This evolves into what could only be called a Mediterranean shanty. The melody here is absolutely gorgeous, and the stylistic stretch is both a surprise and a delight. Vincent and Vedant carry through their paces for the final three tracks of We Sing – We Dance. “Santa Barbara” and “The Goleta” are both solid and well performed. “Aqua Dulce” effectively highlights the talents and blend of Vincent and Vedant. It’s a solid number, but doesn’t have the stylistic oomph of many of the tracks that precede it. The same cannot be said for the penultimate “V Plays The Melody”, which is brilliant, driven and refined, but with just a touch of back street attitude in the violin to keep it scintillating. Vincent and Vedant close with the sprightly celebration of “V & V”. The lilting dance presented here evolves into an almost manic expression of joy.
Vincent & Vedant are both extremely talented instrumentalist, a fact that will only escape you on We Sing – We Dance if you fail to listen to it. Vincent Zorn and Vedant Koppera take listeners on a series of musical field trips on the album, always excelling in both technical prowess and creativity. The last three tracks on the album are a bit more average, standing out only because the material that came before them was that much better. This is not your traditional dinner music instrumental album. Vincent and Vedant are both too lively in their love of the music they play and in their presentation to ever be fully relegated to the background.
Review by Wildy Haskell
Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)