Saturday, May 27, 2006

Now THAT'S what I call singing!

Jane MonheitSo I couldn't sleep last night and I decided to watch a little TV. Man, am I glad I did. I was surfing and came across Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis. This particular episode was called "The American Songbook" and starred guitarist/vocalist John Pizzarelli and this lovely lady, Jane Monheit. John Pizzarelli can play the snow off the Arctic and this girl can sing in a way that makes you want to wake the wife.

One of the tunes she sang on this show was Sammy Cahn's "I Should Care" and it evoked a reaction in this writer that I haven't had in a while. It was saucy and sexy and full of longing and phrasing that made you just want to clap and shout. And it was a smooth as satin and as welcome as sweet tea on a hot day.

She said that her influences were Judy Garland and Ella Fitzgerald and she hears them each time she sings. But guys I gotta tell you, this lady's voice reaches into your heart and pulls on the strings.

She sounds a little like another jazz mama Diana Krall but Jane has got that sultry jazz singer thang down! She reminded me a little bit - don't laugh - of the mannerisms of Jessica Rabbit. (Jessica's a cartoon and Jane's real - and believe me I know the difference. But that same kind of sultriness that Jessica parodied in the movie Jane has for real).

Jane Monheit (c) Epic RecordsBut Jane's voice and mannerisms had a vulnerability that just reached out and made me want to rescue her. She said she chooses songs because she feels something. And man she makes you feel it.

The version that she and John Pizzarelli did on this show was "The Way You Wear Your Hat (They Can't Take That Away From Me)" and dude, I'll tell you, it was one of those versions of the tune that you will never forget. This lady is definitely one to add to the collection. Might be time for a trip to Ye Olde Record Shoppe.

1 comment:

Bruce Moore said...

Hey David - if you head down to the record store, start with Jane's early recordings - "Never Never Land", and "Come Dream with Me".

Since then she's become a bit watered down, over-glossed and over produced. Back then she was a jazz singer with great promise.

There's still hope she'll get her chops back. She turned in a few great performances on Terence Blanchard's outstanding title "Let's Get Lost".