For those who have followed Jane Monheit’s career since she was a 20-year-old runner-up to Teri Thornton in the 1998 Thelonious Monk Institute vocal competition (Roberta Gambarini was third), this is the album we have been waiting for.
At 33, eleven years after her recording debut, she has come of age as a jazz singer. This shows in her sense of dynamics and the confident way she tackles a lyric – with a voice like a shot of whiskey and honey. Her scat singing, especially, befits someone who cites Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Tormé among her early influences.
There are many highlights: the spirited feistiness of Everything I Have is Yours with Mark O’Connor’s violin; plumbing the emotional depths in I’ll Be Around; and the romanticism of There’s a Small Hotel with lovely piano by Michael Kanan. They all show she’s the real deal.