Jane Monheit

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Jane Monheit

Birdland, NYC, April 3, 2018

Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes


jpg” alt=”” width=”212″ height=”212″ /> Jane Monheit

Jane Monheit is unquestionably in the top tier of today’s jazz vocalists. Her new show at Birdland features a collection of her most requested songs.

Her voice is a remarkable instrument—it rises without being shrill, lowers when required and, whether singing in English or Portuguese, always has a pretty sound. What makes her a very special cabaret performer is her graceful, yet sexy, movement on stage. Her facial expressions, arm and finger movements make it virtually impossible to take your eyes off her. Her stage presence is natural, relaxed, and often quite humorous. She is backed by a trio of stellar musicians: Michael Kanan (piano), Neal Miner (bass), and husband, Rick Montalbano (drums), all of whom take solo turns.

Monheit opened by showing off her ability to scat with “I Believe in You.

” A story about recording with Sergio Mendes led into his “So Many Stars” (lyrics: Alan & Marilyn Bergman). A funny story about singing “Hit the Road to Dreamland” to her son as a lullaby led into her scat-filled performance of the song. Backed only by Kanan, Monheit’s voice soared beautifully on “Pure Imagination.” She showed off her ability to do a ballad with what she called her “11 o’clock number,” “I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life.” Every number that Monheit performs is done in her unique manner, and that was especially true of one that is a part of all her request shows, a memorable “Over the Rainbow,” which had her whispering “if happy little bluebirds fly” followed by a very big finish “Why, oh why, can’t I?”. Monheit went back to bossa nova closing with “Waters of March” in both English and Portuguese.

Her encore, “I Wish You Love,” opened dramatically then ended with her swinging away.

Ron Forman

Ron Forman has been a Mathematics Professor at Kingsborough Community College for 45 years. In that time, he has managed to branch out in many different areas. From 1977 to 1994 he was co-owner of Comics Unlimited, the third largest comic book distribution company in the USA. In 1999,after a lifetime of secretly wanting to do a radio program, he began his weekly Sweet Sounds program on WKRB 90.3 FM, dedicated to keeping the music of the Great American Songbook alive and accessible. This introduced him to the world of cabaret, which led to his position as a reviewer for Cabaret Scenes.