Although she has been gone for almost 40 years, the charisma of the star crossed Marilyn Monroe continues to fascinate new generations. Swiss saxophonist David Klein is no exception as he has prepared his tribute to Monroe on the occasion of her 75th birthday with an album of songs from her movies. He is helped by his mother, singer Miriam Klein, who has those breathy, sultry characteristics that were the hallmarks of Monroe's considerable singing talents. This album is a curious project for the Enja label better known for its avant-garde jazz releases. But perhaps the powers at Enja are also enamored with the mystery of Marilyn Monroe. Among the films whose songs are represented on the album are Niagara
, Let's Make Love
, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
and the just recently departed Billy Wilder's classic, Some Like It Hot
, arguably Monroe's best film effort. The album is accompanied by a very informative booklet highlighting Monroe's career. The liner notes remind us of Monroe's love of good music with a picture of her with Ella Fitzgerald, Monroe's favorite singer.
Don't be put off by any concern that this is just one of those albums long on trying to cash in on Monroe's popularity but short on good music. Klein's Dexter Gordon like sax is enhanced by the presence of a first rate rhythm section of the inestimable Mulgrew Miller, Ira Coleman and Marcello Pellitteri. The rich sonority of the Klein tenor is heard to good advantage throughout and is especially compelling on a slow paced "My Heart Belongs to Daddy."This is a fine jazz album, featuring both good vocalizing and fine instrumental work and should be attractive to both jazz and Marilyn Monroe fans.
Personnel: David Klein - Tenor Sax; Miriam Klein - Vocals; Mulgrew Miller - Piano; Ira Coleman - Bass; Marcello Pellitteri - Drums