Club44 Records CL44-4109
Michael Kanan (piano); Rick Montabano (drums); David Robaire (bass); Kevin Winard (percussion); Miles Okazaki (guitars)
After the stunning performance from Monheit on The Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald album from 2016 you could be forgiven for wondering where the singer would go next, and if she was setting herself up for a fall when a follow up was required. However, we needn’t have worried, as Ms Monheit does not disappoint with her latest recording, Come What May. In fact, I cannot ever remember being disappointed by any of the vocalist’s albums from the moment I first left a local record store clutching a copy of her debut album, Never Never Land some twenty years ago.
So how has Jane managed to keep the musical momentum going? I think it is fair to say that she is now firmly established as a world class interpreter of the standard repertoire, as time after time she retains a consistency in her recorded output yet still sounds as fresh and interesting as she did on her auspicious debut. What she now brings to the youthful exuberance of her early work is a worldly wise and lived in edge to her voice. Her reading here of Billy Strayhorn’s ‘Lush Life’ is full of pathos. Beautifully sung, pitch perfect and beautifully enunciated that lends a believability to the lyrics that is totally absorbing.
She brings an equally credulity to her reading to ‘The Man That Got Away’, and a deliciously tender rendition of ‘The Nearness of You’. With a flip of the switch, she swings hard on ‘Let’s Face The Music And Dance’, as if throwing caution to the wind and really pushes hard on ‘I Believe In You’.
Of her musical counterparts on the session all acquit themselves well, and in particular pianist, Michael Kanan is outstanding in both accompaniment and when given the opportunity to solo, and his accompaniment and of Ms Monheits vocals is full of sensitivity. The basic ensemble is augments by strings on the delightful ‘Samba Do Aviao’ and ‘My Funny Valentine’ on which the orchestration is pleasant enough the real drama unfolds between Kanan and Ms Monheit in a heart wrenching reading.
This is a most welcome addition to the singer’s discography and a great place to start if you are unfamiliar with most gifted of artists.