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David Benoit Featuring Jane Monheit: 2 in Love

When smooth-jazz pioneer David Benoit, whose dense piano style seems to have arrived at the curious intersection of Vince Guaraldi and Liberace, teams with Jane Monheit, still the plumiest of jazz singers, the proceedings can get a little overripe. Though Benoit’s arrangements are gorgeously atmospheric and Monheit, approaching the high-flown drama of Elaine Page, is in sublime voice, several of the 10 tracks here feel claustrophobic, like beautiful rooms overcrowded with heavy furniture.

Fortunately, much of the excess is mitigated by the superiority of the material. Almost all of it is new, composed by Benoit with help from two of the best jazz-informed singer-lyricists around, Mark Winkler and Lorraine Feather, plus strong next-generation voice Spencer Day.

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