Jane Monheit

| October 22, 2016

Jane Monheit

Birdland, NYC, October 18, 2016

Reviewed by Annamaria Alfieri for Cabaret Scenes

Jane-Monheit-Birdland-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212Backed by an accomplished trio, Jane Monheit sang true to her jazz training and her Great American Songbook roots. From sultry to swinging to a bossa nova beat, Monheit is more than a singer. She’s a superb jazz musician whose instrument is her beautiful voice. With the elegant accompaniment of Michael Kanan  (piano), Neal Miner (bass), and Rick Montalbano (drums), she displayed the full range of her interpretative skills, showing off a potpourri of styles and moods.

First off came a perfect lead-up to Halloween—“Old Devil Moon” (Burton Lane/E.Y. Harburg), given a swinging treatment and dramatic phrasing. The mood took a passionate, jazzy turn with “Love” (Ralph Blane/Hugh Martin), and went to a whole other continent with Antonio Carlos Jobim/Aloysio Oliveira/Ray Gilbert’s “Só Tinha de Ser Com Você,” which was the only offering of the evening that fell short of absolutely stellar. A later rendition of Ivan Lins’ “Comecar de Novo,” with lyrics of her own English translation, proved Monheit can be Brazilian jazz pluperfect.

And she showed she can be country, with a torch-song interpretation of the Bonnie Raitt hit “Love Has No Pride” (Eric Kaz/Libby Titus).

A plaintive “It Never Entered My Mind” (Rodgers and Hart) brought us back to American jazz central. Sung slowly, emphasizing the emotion, the familiar words became spine-tingling, every syllable effective and beautiful. The set included two other Ella Fitzgerald standards: The Gershwin/Heyward “Summertime,” sultry as Savannah in August and yet mournful, as if channeling the real-life emotions of Porgy and Bess; and then an unadorned “Cheek to Cheek” (Irving Berlin) became somehow brand new. When Monheit sings Ella, you believe it. You really believe it!

Jane Monheit continues at Birdland through October October 22.

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Category: Cabaret Reviews, New York City, New York City Cabaret Reviews, Regional

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