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BWW CD Review: Jane Monheit COME WHAT MAY - An Album Worth A Twenty Year Wait

The iconic jazz singer celebrates a career anniversary with a career best.

BWW CD Review: Jane Monheit COME WHAT MAY - An Album Worth A Twenty Year Wait

When one has been in the music business for twenty years, there is nothing left to prove, and with her new cd COME WHAT MAY, Jane Monheit is doing just that: she is proving nothing. Already hailed as one of the best, and the pressure being off, Ms. Monheit was able to go into the studio, relax and sing - sing for herself, sing for the fans, sing for the songwriters. That is reason enough to buy the album, so having the recording be lush, sensual, fun, emotional, and technically superior is a cherry on the cake of musical enjoyment that Monheit has baked, removed from the oven, and served to perfection.

The art of being a jazz singer is a special one that combines depth of feeling with stylistic expression, and fans of the combination remember and revel in moments like Nancy Wilson's up-tempo "Moon River" and Peggy Lee's Latin "On The Street Where You Live", so there is a welcome sense of excitement that occurs when a singer like Jane Monheit takes a simple rolling show tune like "I Believe In You" gives it new life, and lets you know she is not here to rest on past successes, she is here to make new ones. Indeed, all ten (only ten? Insert unhappy emoji here) of the recordings on Come What May are brand new - no anthology project is this, and thank goodness because Ms. Monheit's growth as an artist and as a woman is worth documentation

A star from early on in her two-decade tenure, Ms. Monheit surprises with this new collection of songs - the surprise being that she is recording some of the compositions for the first time. The wait has been one of savory anticipation because Jane is showing some intoxicating shades in tracks like the admirably cheeky "Let's Take a Walk Around The Block" and an almost defiantly seductive "Let's Face The Music and Dance." The nuance is not new to Monheit, though it is satisfyingly pulse-elevating to hear the skills applied to these particular tracks, making one wonder if there are events or experiences that are informing the performances in a personal way. Whatever the reason, it's working for the iconic performer. Listening to COME WHAT MAY is like being at a carnival and spinning one of those wheels that awards you a prize based on where the needle lands; with each turn of the wheel the listener wins a definite mood, a different desire, a new understanding. Monheit's vocals have never been more luscious and sentimental, notably on a hungry, mournful, "My Funny Valentine" with heartbreaking breath control, and nothing could match the eloquent emotional expression on "Lush Life", the greatest song ever written, performed as though being improvised by Monheit on the spot as a naked confession in a private diary. You may even find yourself feeling a little guilty for having read the pages and the raw, intimate confessions. It is devastatingly ravishing, in all the best ways.

One of the things that makes great artists great is their ability to surround themselves with colleagues that don't just agree with their vision, but that actively work toward the common goal of bringing that vision to life. Ms. Monheit's vision is clearly supported by the people in her corner: the shorthand that exists between the singer and her band is palpable, it's tangible, you can feel it, especially during drum solos from her husband, Rick Montalbano (natch). Wayne Haun's arrangements fit the lady like a well-tailored suit of clothing - he and partner Joel Lindsay (owners of the Club 44 label) have an obvious ardor for and commitment to Jane and her work that is deeply felt. This is an elegant teaming of top-shelf talent, from every creative aspect, and one this writer applauds, although there is a question hanging in the air regarding the entire project, one for which no answer has presented itself: the title of the album.

Upon seeing the name of the new Jane Monheit CD, I was certain the title track would be the famous song from the film Moulin Rouge, but I was mistaken - no such recording exists here. There is, in fact, no song named "Come What May" on the album, and no liner notes to explain the title. I'm wildly curious of course, but I have, for some time, known that every woman has a mystery about her - it is what I was taught by my grandmother, a fashion designer, and my mother, one of the world's amazing women (and mysteries). I can live without knowing the reason behind the appellation. If the title of Jane Monheit's new album is designed to give mystery, I accept. If it is a personal secret, alright then. If it is a hint that she might sing the movie theme at some point, I will wait. After all, I waited twenty years for these ten tracks and that certainly paid off; so, as far as I'm concerned Ms. Monheit can be as mysterious as she likes... as long as she doesn't wait another five years to release her next CD because, in spite of what they say, in matters like this the waiting is not the best part.

The listening is.

Jane Monheit COME WHAT MAY is a 2021 release on the Club 44 Records label and will be available everywhere beginning March 12th. Pre-Order the album HERE.

Jane Monheit will celebrate the release of COME WHAT MAY with a special virtual concert that live streams from Feinstein's at Vitello's on Friday, March 12th, at 8:00 PM EST. Information and tickets can be found HERE.

Please observe the names of all of Jane Monheit's contributors to this album in the photograph below:

BWW CD Review: Jane Monheit COME WHAT MAY - An Album Worth A Twenty Year Wait


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