How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Denine Monet comes up with a bird theme for her maiden album. Since I'm not into Ornithology, I have a hard time making the connection between each song and the bird in question. You'll have to buy the album and try it yourself.
Monet, like many of her contemporary vocalists, has a cast of thousands on this album, some playing exotic percussive instruments, which is fine given the theme. This is unlike singers of yore who, once they got a rhythm section they liked, stuck with them for a while. Here the cast constantly changes depending on the track. One result of this game of musical chairs is less continuity and flow from tune to tune. Nonetheless, there are very good tracks here. These are the ones without affectation and extraneous noise. One is a blues based, sometimes down and dirty rendition of Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments" with lyrics by Mark Murphy. Monet runs off some solid scatting and speaking in tongues wordless vocalizing on this track backed by the rhythm section of Frank Martin, Will Kennedy and Joel Smit. Bringing off the bench one of the visiting instruments, the cello, which along with Monet's languid vocalizing creates a feeling of lethargy for "Lazy Afternoon". Feathered creatures come into play as the opening on a haunting, intense "Stalking" with Martin's avant gardish piano helping to create a dreamy aura. Monet adds balance to the session with a relatively straightforward but cleverly constructed medley of "You Go to My Head"/"There Will Never Be Another You". There's a dubbed Vocalese duet with herself on "Fly, Lady Bird"/"Half Nelson".
Monet has a very pleasant voice. In fact, she has several pleasant voices. This album is an adventure and recommended. Visit Denine at her Internet location at www. deninemonet.com.
Track Listing: Night in Tunisia; Estate (summer); Medley: You Go to My Head/There Will Never Be another You; Firelight; Medley: Fly, Lady Bird/Half Nelson; Like a Whistle; Steal Away; Stolen Moments; Lazy Afternoon; Mystery; Stalking; Bird Alone
Personnel: Denine Monet, Will Flash*, Kenny Washington** - Vocals; Frank Martin, Russell Ferrante - Piano; Will Kennedy - Drums; Stan Poplin - Bass; Joel Smith, Gary Brown - Electric Bass; Steve Erquiaga, Mimi Fox - Guitar; Ellen D. Sanders, Jami Sieber - Cello; Darol Anger - Violin; Celso Alberti - Udu/Shaker; Jesus Diaz, Marquinho Brasil - Batas/ Shekeres; Tommy Kesecker - Marimba; Jim Norton - Bass Clarinet; Louis Fasman - Trumpet; Wayne Wallace - Trombone; Mary Fettig, Barbara Christmann - Flute