Jane Monheit: Never Never Land
On her first release, "Never Never Land", the 22-year-old Monheit has lined up some formidable talent, both in musical and production capacities.
Musicians? None other than Kenny Barron, Ron Carter, Lewis Nash, Bucky Pizzarelli, Hank Crawford and David "Fathead" Newman. As sidemen!
Producers? None other than the legendary Joel Dorn, who has recently left 32 Jazz. Or recording engineer Gene Paul, son of the immortal Les Paul. Represented by none other than Mary Ann Topper of The Jazz Tree, one of the top jazz artist management agencies. Hair by Suzi Hornbeek. Make-up by Maria Verel of Chanel.
Well, I don't know who Suzi Hornbeek is, but she surely does a nice job of arranging hair fetchingly. Ms. Verel is very clever with make-up. You can't help but notice it. Monheit's attractiveness is to both her advantage and disadvantage.
By appealing to her audiences through both sight and sound, audiences may lose sight of her sound. And that sound is one of not only a trained voice, but also a natural one.
With a pitch of unwavering precision and imaginative improvisational treatment of songs, Monheit gives evidence of her talent that won her second place in the 1998 Monk Vocal Competition (second to the thrilling Teri Thornton, who died of cancer recently).
Moving at the age of 17 to work in New York's clubs and to study at the Manhattan School Of Music, the preternaturally talented Monheit seems to have arrived in full bloom and with a confidence to forge ahead with a career, no matter what her age.
On "Never Never Land", Monheit exhibits a clarity and expressiveness of phrasing without pretension that continues to infuse meaning into standards from jazz singers' repertoires. With a special affinity for Bill Evans' music, Monheit includes particularly affecting versions of "Detour Ahead" and "Never Let Me Go".
"Never Never Land" marks the start of a recording career that will involve many more CD's and growing public awareness. Mark my words.
Please Be Kind; Detour Ahead; More Than You Know; Dindi; Save Your Love For Me; Never Let Me Go; My Foolish Heart; I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good; Twisted; Never Never Land.
Jane Monheit, vocals; Hank Crawford, alto sax; David "Fathead" Newman, tenor sax; Kenny Barron, piano; Bucky Pizzarelli, guitar; Ron Carter, bass; Lewis Nash, drums.
Record Label: N-Coded Music