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Denine Monet: Lady Bird

Birds figure largely on Lady Bird, the debut release (Shotzi SRCD 4441; 55:35) from San Franciscan Denine Monet. In addition to the title track, a soaring rendition of “Fly, Lady Bird” (mightily enhanced by Kenny Washington’s vocal accompaniment), Monet successfully navigates Abbey Lincoln’s challenging “Bird Alone,” and plays a clever game of cat-and-bird on Joe Josea’s “Stalking,” to which she contributed the lively lyrics. Despite her limited experience, Monet exhibits masterful control and razor-sharp instincts on “Night in Tunisia,” “Lazy Afternoon” and an occasionally awkward but intriguing medley of “You Go to My Head” and “There Will Never Be Another You.” Unfortunately, Monet isn’t yet as skilled a songwriter as she is a singer. All three of the self-penned compositions included here seem strained and over-stylized, and a mid-disc, minute-long spoken passage amounts to a corny error in judgment. Still, as first outings go, Lady Bird is impressive enough to make a follow-up worthy of anticipation.

Originally Published