Monica Worth: Never Let Me Go
The CD package describes Monica Worth as “a rich, throaty alto with echoes of Rosemary Clooney and Morganna [sic] King.” It is a claim that raises an interesting question. Can a singer simultaneously evoke both Ms. Clooney’s earthy directness and Ms. King’s highly stylized abstractions? The answer, of course, is no. While the influence of Ms. King’s esoteric approach to jazz singing is evident, the use of Ms. Clooney’s name appears to be a marketing ploy.
Ms. Worth’s singing sounds like the product of both too much and too little voice training. She projects her vocal tone with a good deal of the formality of a classical singer but without any of a classical singer’s discipline. Ms. Worth’s intonation and time feel are more than occasionally problematic. She also appears to have difficulty moving between her head and chest voices. Ms. Worth tries to sing too many of these ballads in her upper register where her control over pitch and dynamics is less secure. Only on “Never Let Me Go” and a nicely done “Overjoyed,” both sung in her comfortable middle register, does Ms. Worth manage to communicate actual emotion. Special mention should also be made of the voice & bass passages of an otherwise overdone “I’m Going Out of My Head Over You.”
The rhythm section is outstanding as are the beautiful and subtle string arrangements by Larry Willis. Mapleshade has also once again done a masterful job with their live-to-two-track analog recording process.
Track Listing: Shall We Dance?, Lazy Afternoon, You Must Believe in Spring, I
Personnel: Monica Worth: vocals; Larry Willis: piano; Keter Betts: bass; Jimmy Cobb: drums; Janice Martin: violin; Rick Schmidt: violin; George Olson: viola; Bruno Nasta: viola; Nat Chaitlein: cello; Steve Novosel: bass.