Nancy Monroe: The Love Within
Following the format she used in her successful first release Dance My Heart, singer Nancy Monroe meditates over a play list of standards, other well-known material and originals. She is joined by a sterling set of performers, including hard bop pianist Michael Cochrane, who has worked with the likes of Tom Harrell and Jack Walrath, and guitarist Freddie Bryant who has three of his own CDs on the market. Monroe shows off a rather facile set of chords on songs that require considerable vocal dexterity. "Kisses", that has abrupt jumps up and down the scale making it a difficult tune to cope with, is handled with distinguished ease by the singer. This track also is the home for some good licks from the boppish alto of David Alan Gross. While her voice is facile, it isn't particularly strong with a rather limited range. But like singers with similar qualities - - June Christy comes to mind - - she makes the most of what she has. On "Make Me Rainbows" she adorns her lyrical phrasing with some wordless vocalizing in such a way as to enhance the presentation of the song, rather than to detract from it. "Alone Together" is kicked off with a faster tempo than one usually hears and with a Latin under beat. Cochrane shows clever pianistic wizardry on this cut and does it in a way that enriches the singing instead of detracting from it. The only fault, if one can call it that, is that Monroe needs to add a bit more expressiveness to her delivery, even for a member of the cool school. There seems to be a lack of strong emotional involvement in what she sings. Other than that, this is a good effort that will delight those who enjoy vocal jazz.
Track Listing: The Love Within; Alone Together; Your Way to You; Summer, Me Winter Me; Without a Song; The Gentle Rain; Very Early; My Snow Sambinha; Kisses; Make Me Rainbows; Everyone Once; I've Never Been in Love Before; Anyone Can Play; In April
Personnel: Nancy Monroe - Vocals; David Alan Gross - Sax/Flute; Freddie Bryant - Guitar; Caf