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Jane Monheit

In the Sun

Format: CD   Release Date: 10/07/2002
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Jane Monheit's third album attempts to combine a number of elements: jazz standards, Brazilian repertoire, ballads lushly orchestrated by Alan Broadbent and Vince Mendoza, and even pop vehicles originally sung by Linda Ronstadt and Judy Collins. The young vocalist is usually at her best fronting a small combo; here one wishes she had relied more on her working band with pianist Michael Kanan, bassist Joe Martin, tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm, and drummer/husband Rick Montalbano. It is they who provide this record's most rewarding moments: Martin reharmonizes Ellington's "Just Squeeze Me"; Kanan presents a funky take on "Cheek to Cheek" and duets with Monheit on an unusually slow "Tea for Two." On these tracks one can hear Monheit taking vocal risks, testing her mettle with bluesy inflections and bold peaks in volume. Much of the rest of the album is closer to Streisand than Sarah Vaughan, however. The final four tracks bog down in slow tempos and a vanilla-syrup aesthetic; her Portuguese-language rendition of Ivan Lins' "Comecar de Novo" seems especially contrived. But her duet with guitarist Rene Toledo on "Chega de Saudade" is more convincing, and Lins' guest appearance on his own "Once I Walked in the Sun" provides some lilting harmonic tensions. ~ David R. Adler, Rovi

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