Jane Monheit: Tonight at Noon (2007)
With a strong supporting cast of European musicians, Monheit tackles the difficult works of Charles Mingus on stage at Ronnie Scott's in London. She nails "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat," the moving tribute Mingus wrote in memory of Lester Young, offering a powerful interpretation that will silence earlier critics. She shows off her playful side with her adept scatting through the brisk arrangement of "Boogie Stop Shuffle," trading licks with trumpeter Harley Herald. Mingus' demanding "Portrait" is putty in her hands, as she manages this challenging chart with ease, also featuring the potent sax of Englishman Webster Bean. Monheit wails with the band in the gospel-infused "Better Get Hit in Your Soul."
Another revelation is her debut of Mingus' long lost lyrics to "She's Just Popular Miss Hybrid," re-titled "Lonely Little Girl" and played as a duet with bassist Fiorello Arcomeiti. She sits out the band's one instrumental feature, "Tonight at Noon."
Perhaps her most stunning accomplishment is her haunting wordless vocal in a seven-minute arrangement of "Meditations" (which was inspired by listening to Eric Dolphy's flute solos on the many recordings made during Mingus' 1964 European tour). For much of the work she is backed solely by the promising young Polish-German pianist Zbignew Diehl.
Tonight at Noon makes one wonder what else by Jane Monheit remains unreleased.
Track Listing: Goodbye Pork Pie Hat; Boogie Stop Shuffle; Portrait; Better Get Hit in Your Soul; Eclipse; Tonight at Noon; Lonely Little Girl (She's Just Popular Miss Hybrid); Meditations.
Personnel: Jane Monheit: vocals; Zbignew Diehl: piano; Harley Herald: trumpet, flugelhorn; Webster Bean: tenor sax; Fiorello Arcomeiti: bass; Dieter Kirchemaus: drums; Hugh G. Tallant: liner notes.
Record Label: Froidicat