Vena (Bonsai Music)

Rachel Therrien

Released March 27, 2020

Juno Award Nominee Solo Jazz Album of the Year 2021




Critically acclaimed trumpeter Rachel Therrien is thrilled to announce the March 27th release of her fifth album as a leader VENA. On her debut release for French label Bonsai Music, Therrien makes a major statement over the course of fifteen original compositions. For this momentous occasion, Therrien has assembled a quartet of first-rate European musicians including Franco-Australian pianist Daniel Gassin, Spanish bassist Dario Guibert, and German drummer Mareike Wiening. Cuban saxophonist Irving Acao joins on two tracks. Therrien will be celebrating the release of VENA at Dizzy’s Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City on March 24th, at Diese Onze in Montreal on March 27th and at Studio de l’Ermitage in Paris on May 4th. 

Rachel Therrien’s sound reverberates far beyond her current home of New York City. Born in Quebec, the trumpeter is the epitome of the international musician. She has spent a considerable amount of time in Latin America; her extensive time living and studying in Havana, Cuba heavily influences her Latin-tinged sound. An in-demand side player, Therrien is often enlisted to join top shelf acts on tour and thus, can often be found playing in Europe. On her fifth album, Therrien wished to record with her European Quartet – a group that came together as a result of her many trips there.

The title VENA is significant to Therrien in more than one way. “V For Vena”, the title of the first single, was inspired particularly by the flight of migrating birds. A call back to her home region in Quebec where Canadian Geese are plentiful, the flight patterns of the birds in the form of a V allow for them to travel great distances together. This is a powerful symbol to Therrien, who sees the birds’ migration pattern as a symbol for her own career taking flight and of the new direction she is forming with her European counterparts. The V in “Vena” can also be interpreted as he roman numeral for five (thus, her fifth album) and on the spiritual side, V is the 22nd letter of the alphabet, which stands for synchronicity (as if to say “the stars are well aligned”). 

VENA is Therrien’s most personal album yet. She composed all fifteen songs- each of which are loaded with deep personal meaning. Of note, the fifth track “75 Pages Of Happiness” was recorded for Therrien’s father on his 75th birthday; “Migration” was inspired by her transient, travel-heavy lifestyle; “Bilka’s Story”, which features saxophonist Acao, was inspired by her adventure-filled tours of Ukraine; and “Parity” was inspired by her longing for gender equality.  Therrien first burst on to the scene in 2011 with her debut On Track. She released another album Home Inspiration in 2014, and in 2015 won the TD Grand Prize Jazz Award. The following year, she received the Stingray Jazz Rising Star Award and released Pensamiento, her Latin-jazz endeavor recorded in Bogata, Colombia. Her 2017 release Why Don’t You Try continued to contribute to Therrien’s rising star as it received accolades from Downbeat Magazine (Editors Pick), Bandcamp Daily, NextBop and more. In addition to with her own groups, Therrien tours throughout the world with the DIVA Jazz Orchestra.

Track Listing:

1. Folks Jam 0:52
2. V for Vena 4:32
3. Parity 4:29
4. Pigalle 4:40
5. 75 Pages of Happiness
6. Assata 5:37
7. Bilka’s Story 5:20
8. Emilio 2:45
9. Women 0:57
10. Synchronicity 1:59
11. This Isn’t Love 5:03
12. Just Playing 3:57
13. Bleu Tortue 3:22
14. Migration 4:46
15. Folks Tune 2:04


Rachel Therrien: trumpet & flugelhorn
Daniel Gassin: piano
Dario Guibert: bass
Mareike Wiening: drums

Irving Acao: sax (7, 11)

Recorded at Studio de Meudon, Paris
Engineering, Mixing & Mastering: Julien Bassères
Photography: Nicolas Gerardin
Design: Guillaume Saix
Co-Production: Côté Cours Production


A hot organ intro accompanies the simple, fifty-two second, folk-dance breeze of “Folks Jam” before sweeping you into the grander, ballroom dance that is “V for Vena.” It’s an alluring intro to trumpeter/flugelhornist Rachel Therrien’s fifth album as a leader.
You quickly hear the beauty of Therrien’s playing: there’s no need to nerdily testify which horn she’s playing on any given solo (even if you could spot the difference). Just gasp and when she’s done soaring or imploring, move on to the next tune. There’s something waiting for you there too, because her European Quartet of pianist Daniel Gassin, drummer Mareike Wiening and cameo saxophonist Irving Acao make it so.
Dances that are equal parts hypnotic gambol and anxious interplay (played with Cuban resonances) are the highlights of Vena. Among them the driving pull of “Assata” and the lush and expansive solo on “V for Vena.” “Pigalle” is a kick-in-time turn with bassist Guiebert. “Women” is a duet of wit with Wiening. “Emilio” is a lovely ballad.
As the title track dissolves into the glistening, dream-bop of “Parity,” Therrien displays an unerring knack for restraint and for players who put their soul into the music. Any of the fifteen shape-shift-on-a-whim compositions could have become something else and gone another way. But they didn’t. And that’s why Vena is what it is: a disc you should be listening to.

Mike Jurkovic (All About Jazz)