Diana Krall, look out! Jane is gainin' on ya!
Richard Monk | San Antonio, TX United States | 07/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Miss Monheit is an extroadinary singer. Her voice is strong, clear, and immediately attention getting. I suppose she is an "alto", and a very, very good one. I don't know how a 22 year old gets Kenny Barron (piano), Ron Carter(bass), Lewis Nash(drums), Hank Crawford (alto sax), David Newman (tenor sax), and Bucky Pizzarelli (guitar), to play behind her on a debut album. These gentlemen KNOW how to play jazz, and Miss Monheit KNOWS how to sing jazz. Her disc "Never Never Land" is made up of about equal parts of ballads and faster, more swinging songs like "Please Be Kind", "My Foolish Heart", and "Twisted". While I prefer the faster paced selections, every song is a winner. The back up band does an outstanding job of remiinding you that you are listening to great jazz music, while at the same time not getting in the way of the warm, sensual, romantic voice of Jane Monheit. She won second place a few years ago at the Thelonious Monk International Vocal Competition. I'd really like to hear a CD by the first place winner! There are few artists whose CD's I would buy without hearing some of the music first. I will buy Jane Monheit's next CD without hesitation, without hearing a note. "Never Never Land" has top notch sonics, too. Her voice very well recorded, and the recording overall is "audiophile" quality. Miss Monheit should have a wonderful career ahead of her, she is the most talented new young singer (jazz or otherwise) I have heard in a long long time. Buy her CD, you WON'T be disappointed. Her photographs in the liner notes are't hard to look at either."
Long time jazz enthusiast- Monterey,California
R. Brandon | 08/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A superlative debut cd by Ms.Monheit whose voice is lithe,sensual and soothing to the ear.With impeccable phrasing,timing,intonation and warmth, she has the ability to get inside the page the notes are written on;giving a soul to the song and a meaning to the listener. With an outstanding backup of such notables as Kenny Barron,David (Fat Head ) Newman,Bucky Pizzarelli,Ron Carter and Lewis Nash, this young singer shows her musicianship and gets the respect back from these jazz veterans with their wonderful sound. The refreshing renditions of "Please Be Kind" swings you into the cd asking for more only to be happily rewarded with such numbers as the soulful "Detour Ahead", "Never Let Me Go",and "Never Never Land", the title song that transforms you to a place where dreams are born. Her upbeat songs are fun and rythmic while her ballads blow you away.With the absence of Ella,Sarah,and Billie, we're long overdue for a talent such as Ms. Monheits', who has only just begun! A remarkable cd, Buy it! You'll never let it go."
A stunning beginning
R. Brandon | Tucson, AZ USA | 09/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A beautiful album and especially suprising from someone so young. Jane Monheit has one of the most captivating voices I've heard in a long time.This woman's voice is nearly flawless. She lands spot on every note with a clear clean tone that communicates cool. She uses dynamics beautifully from her husky whisper through her bell-like middle volume to the soaring power of her loudest passages. She lets us know which passages she considers intimate and which she considers to be a joyful proclamation. Her singing always sounds effortless, even her loudest high notes never sound forced or strained ... she sings easy, the way jazz should be sung. A few of her musical phrases are almost too polished taking on more of a classical air, but Jane swings so well that it doesn't sound contrived. I found it remarkable that I could easily understand every lyric, even the rapid-fire of "Twisted", she even enunciates perfectly.Jazz is the music of ideas and Jane has wonderful ideas. She thinks well on her feet, improvising with beautiful taste. It is obvious that she can flawlessly produce whatever sound comes into her head and this gives her singing great confidence, she knows she can go wherever she wants to go. Her ideas are recognizable as having been derived from earlier artists (I mostly recognized Ella and Carmen McRae) but she adds enough to make them fresh and interesting.The one area where she is perhaps somewhat limited for now is interpretation. Ballads and happy swinging tunes about love she communicates with great conviction. But in my opinion she missed the sly humor and satire of "Twisted", she didn't really act the part. That however, seems a small point considering the power of this new singer."