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Jane Monheit: Come Dream With Me

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illustration of Jane Monheit

Since the release of her debut recording, Never Never Land, a mere year and a half ago, 23-year-old vocalist Jane Monheit has been hailed as a sultry, young, white reincarnation of Ella Fitzgerald. With due respect to Monheit, the comparison is neither fair nor accurate. Anyone claiming more than a superficial resemblance between the two would appear to have a limited-very limited-knowledge of singers.

The mature Fitzgerald won our hearts as an improvisational wonder, whether singing blues or bossa novas, deftly reshaping melodies or abandoning them for incredible wordless excursions. From a technical and historical standpoint, she stretched jazz singing from the swing era into the realm of bebop. No small achievement, but second to the visceral thrill of her creations. Fitzgerald made us feel like we were airborne: her take-offs, landings and the surprises that lay in between made the human voice appear boundless. It was simply magic.

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