How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
At just 22 years of age, vocalist Jane Monheit shows that she has a long, promising career ahead. Monheit was the first runner-up in the 1998 Thelonius Monk Institute vocal competition. For her debut on N-coded Music, Never Never Land, Monheit benefits from an impressive all-star accompanying ensemble consisting of Kenny Barron (piano), Ron Carter (bass), and Lewis Nash (drums), with additional contributions from Bucky Pizzarelli (guitar) and Hank Crawford or David "Fathead" Newman (sax).
Monheit's interpretations, as well as the backgrounds, are seamless (as one would expect for musicians of this stature) but safe. So is the choice of ten well-known standards for the program. Monheit shows that she's long on tone quality and style, but somewhat conservative when it comes to risk-taking and individuality. The samba treatment of "My Foolish Heart" is the most refreshing treatment on the program and is especially enjoyable. Still, a very enjoyable effort overall.
Track Listing: Please Be Kind; Detour Ahead; More Than You Know; Dindi; Save Your Love for Me; Never Let Me Go; My Foolish Heart; I Got It Bad (and That Ain't Good); Twisted; Never Never Land.
Personnel: Jane Monheit: vocals; Kenny Barron: piano; Ron Carter: bass; Lewis Nash: drums; Bucky Pizzarelli: guitar; Hank Crawford: alto sax; David "Fathead" Newman: tenor sax and flute.