Review of new album from singer
Ten years have passed since Jane Monheit’s debut album. She’s had a decade to learn and grow as an artist, and Home ably demonstrates how far she’s progressed. A low-key but consistently imaginative showcase for the honeyed-whiskey gorgeousness of Monheit’s voice, Home opens with “A Shine on Your Shoes,” its effervescence cleverly counterpointed by John Pizzarelli’s guitar. “There’s a Small Hotel” oozes romantic satisfaction; “This Is Always” is as pure and promise-filled as newlyweds’ altar kiss; and “Look for the Silver Lining” is as bright and shiny as fresh-polished sterling. The bleak arc of “I’ll Be Around” is superbly realized, building gradually against the metronomic heartbeat of Michael Kanan’s piano and then rising to a stormy crescendo before settling back into a chasm of desolation. “Everything I’ve Got” unfolds with just the right amount of spirited sass, and the limitless freedom of “The Eagle and Me” is expertly navigated as Monheit floats and swirls atop Joe Magnarelli’s trumpet.
There are also two vocal duets as different as they are captivating. Monheit and Pizzarelli unite for a softly undulating “Tonight You Belong to Me” that recalls the shrewd harmonies of Les Paul and Mary Ford. Then there’s “It’s Only Smoke,” the album’s sole new composition, from Larry Goldings and Cliff Goldmacher, with Monheit and Peter Eldridge fogbound in layers of Legrand-esque dissimulation and passion.