JANE MONHEIT: The Lovers, The Dreamers And Me (Label: Concord)

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JANE MONHEIT: The Lovers, The Dreamers And Me

Jane Monheit is one of jazz’s most deceptive singers. Outwardly demure in a butter-wouldn’t-melt kind of way, her honeyed voice is not only seductive but possesses an attractive world-weariness that belies her relative years (she’s 30)… and she knows it. Here she’s chosen a selection of songs – some old, some new – that perfectly suit that vocal style. On ‘Slow Like Honey’ and ‘I’m Glad There’s You’ she plays the romantic while on tracks like ‘Rainbow Connection’ (from whose lyrics the album’s title comes) and the poignant ‘Ballad Of Sad Young Men’ there’s an almost gin-soaked resignation that maybe life isn’t always as chocolate-box-pretty as optimists would want us to believe. In between Monheit offers a great new twist to Corrine Bailey Rae’s ‘Like A Star’ and delivers variety on a swaying take of Ivan Lins’ ‘A Primera Vera’. Other featured writers include Paul Simon, Jimmy Dorsey, Fiona Apple and Leonard Bernstein but despite the variety, her voice brings an overall unity to the collection. That constancy is underpinned by the use of the same band throughout, with Michael Kanan’s piano and Fender parts being particularly outstanding. ‘The Lovers, The Dreamers And Me’ isn’t an earth-shattering or mould-breaking album; it was never intended as such – but as an appealing, intriguing and committed jazz vocal set, it delivers.
(BB) 4/5