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March 2009

Jane Monheit
The Lovers, the Dreamers and Me
Concord Jazz

Working down the Jane Monheit checklist, does The Lovers, the Dreamers and Me deliver everything we’ve come to count on from the jazz-cabaret chanteuse? Creamy covers of classic ballads? Yep, including rich, smooth, molasses-slow renditions of “I’m Glad There Is You” and “Lucky to Be Me.” Silk-lined treatments of more contemporary material? Check, courtesy of languorous re-workings of Corrine Bailey Rae’s “Like a Star,” Fiona Apple’s “Slow Like Honey” and Paul Simon’s achingly bittersweet “I Do It for Your Love.” A dash of Brazil, expertly served up in Portuguese? Indeed, with a shimmering saunter through “A Primeira Vez” accompanied solely by Romero Lubambo’s guitar.

But there’s more to Monheit’s latest than simply the expected. There’s a heightened maturity, a sense that she’s entering a distinctly more confident and self-satisfied phase. For proof, it’s easy to point to Monheit’s fine handling of “Something Cool” and “The Ballad of the Sad Young Men.” But both tunes are so thematically ripe that any first-rate singer could capture their narrative pathos. The real revelation here is her handling of Ivan Lins’ “No Tomorrow.” Monheit navigates the lyric’s emotional tug-of-war with a sagacity and sophistication worthy of Peggy Lee at her best. More than merely exquisite, the track elevates her from very good to great.

Originally published in March 2009
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1 Comment

  • Jan 25, 2010 at 07:13PM singer29

    You've got to be kidding. I've never heard a genuine emotion during a Monheit performance. It's all posing and cutesy shit. Maybe it's slightly less bad than it was five years ago, but still, it's calculated and phony, to be polite about it.

    A great singer has to do more than have a good voice and be able to mimic styles. In Monheit's case, the voice is sickly sweet and uninteresting. The fact that she can scat and mimic different styles doesn't mean much. There's nothing organic in her singing.

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