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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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Concord 0888072300507




1. If You Went Away
2. Surrender
3. Rio de Maio
4. Like a Lover
5. So Tinha De Ser Com Voce
6. So Many Stars
7. Moon River
8. Overjoyed
9. Caminhos Cruzados
10. A Time for Love
Jane Monheit - Vocals
Michael Kanan - Piano, Rhodes
Miles Okazaki - Acoustic guitar, electric guitar
Ari Ambrose - Saxophone
Orlando Le Fleming - Acoustic bass
Rick Montalbano - Drums
Jorge Calandrelli - Synthesisers (tracks 2, 3, 8)
Peter Wolf - Orchestral arrangements, synthesisers (track 6)
Paiulinho Da Costa - Perrcussion (tracks 1-5, 8, 9)
Ramon Stagnaro - Guitar (track 3)
Dave Carpenter - Acoustic bass (track 3)
Alphonso Johnson - Bass (track 6)
Mike Shapiro - Drums, percussion (track 6)
Ivan Lins - Vocals, keyboards (track 3)
Sergio mendes - Piano (track 6)
Toots Thielemans - Harmonica (track 9)

This is Jane Monheit's seventh album - her first for the Concord label. As she has generally been categorised as a jazz singer on her previous albums, the opening track is rather a surprise - a lush tune with sweeping strings, as if Jane is a disciple of (say) Barbra Streisand rather than of the great jazz vocalists. The second track is not so string-laden but it's still rather bland. The strings return for Rio de Maio, a duet by Jane with its composer Ivan Lins. Thus far, the album reminds me of the treatment accorded to Diana Krall when they tried to widen her appeal by presenting her in an easy-listening context which diluted the jazz content.

And so it goes on, with those lush strings watering down any inclination to a jazz performance. All the tracks are slow-to-medium tempo, including several easygoing bossas. Stevie Wonder's beautiful song Overjoyed has none of the feeling that its composer brought to it. Even a guest like Sergio Mendes fails to turn up the heat. There are hints of improvisation in the title-track, So Tinha De Ser Com Voce and Moon River, but it's not until the penultimate track - Caminhos Cruzados - that Toots Thielemans is allowed to inject his jazz sensibility with a short solo and some brief interjections from his keening harmonica.

On the inner sleeve, Jane is portrayed as a heavily made-up siren: a glamour-girl image we have seen in previous publicity photos. One wonders how much the image contributes to her popularity. An internet website refers to "her luscious lips and glossy, wavy locks". She still has a good, pure voice, with echoes of Karrin Allyson as well as Streisand. But perhaps we have to stop thinking of her as jazz vocalist and consign her to the world of cabaret artists who entertain without too many surprises.

Tony Augarde


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