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Jane Monheit
Biography and debut CD Never Never Land. Concert: Widder Bar,
February 13, 2001
Sheet music by Jane Monheit.


Biography of Jane Monheit
Article added in February 2001 
 

Born on November 3, 1977, Jane Monheit grew up on Oakdale, Long Island. At the age of 2, she is said to have begun singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Honeysuckle Rose. Her aunt and grandmother were professional singers. Her brother is a rock guitar player, her dad plays bluegrass banjo music and her mother was in musical theater. At school, Jane studied clarinet and music theory. She realized at an early age that jazz was the thing she wanted to do. Her main influence was Ella Fitzgerald.
 
At high school, Monheit played the lead in all the theatre performances. At the same time, she performed at the clubs on the South Shore of Long Island. Her formal vocal training began at age 17 at New York City's prestigious Manhattan School of Music where she studied with Peter Eldrige, a founding member of the vocal group New York Voices. In New York, she also moved into the cabaret scene in Village piano bars.
 
Jane's college boyfriend and fiancée, Rick Montalbano, a jazz drummer who played at her side in Zurich (see the concert review below), steered her away from cabaret towards jazz. She began singing with the quintet Rick was playing in which included the pianist David Berkman (who also played at the Widder Bar).
 
In her senior year at the Manhattan School of Music, she made her breakthrough. At 20, she won the first runner-up prize at the 1998 Thelonius Monk Institute Vocal Competition. The top award went to the legendary Teri Thornton who made her comeback at 64, already suffering from cancer. She died in May 2000. Jane's performance led to the recording of Never Never Land, her debut album, released in October 2000, which was an instant success. On Never Never Land, Monheit sings 10 ballads with such notable jazz figures as Kenny Barron, Ron Carter, Lewis Nash, Bucky Pizzarelli, Hank Crawford and David "Fathead" Newman.
 
Carl Griffin, the head of artists and repertory for the multimedia company N2K, discovered Monheit at the Monk Competition. He offered her a record contract when she finished college in June 1999. Today, Griffin is the president of the N2K spinoff record label, N-Coded Music, which released Never Never Land. Besides the deal for two records with an option for three more, Monheit also came under the wing of manager Mary Ann Topper's Jazz Tree. Topper had launched the careers of Diana Krall, Michel Petrucciani and Joshua Redman.



Concert at the Widder Bar, Zurich, February 13, 2001
 
On Tuesday night, the small Widder Bar was sold out. News about Jane Monheit's sensational debut album had spread quickly. In Zurich, she was accompanied by Dave Berkman on piano, Paul Boothe on tenor saxophone, Orlando Le Fleming on bass and Rick Montalbano on drums.
 
The four men began the concert with an instrumental tune, before Jane Monheit joined them for the second piece. Please Be Kind from her debut album Never Never Land set the mood. The song's lyrics were telling: "This is all so grand" described perfectly what she has been experiencing since winning the first runner-up prize at the 1998 Thelonius Monk Institute Vocal Competition and her first CD recorded in 2000. "Please be kind" was a message to the public: All she ever wanted to do is sing; this tour is her chance to make a breakthrough. To make a long story short, her first trip to Zurich proved that she is already much more than a talent. Her intonation and assurance were striking.
 
The only sad point about the performance concerned the accompanying musicians. The bassist and drummer were not up to their job at all. The third young man, Paul Boothe on tenor saxophone, played better the longer the evening went on, not only as a background musician for Jane, but also as a soloist. Still, he has a long way to go, but a fair chance to succeed. The only man always performing on the level of the singer was Dave Berkman on piano. He is probably ten years older then the rest of the group and that could be heard throughout the concert. He was also responsible for all the musical arrangements, except one.
 
The men and women of Monheit's record label act irresponsibly. Such a rare talent as Jane deserves to be treated like a diamond. She needs a first class quartet to progress - something she won't be able to do aside musicians like Orlando and Rick.
 
Monheit's second song performed at the Widder Bar was Jobim's Dindi, from Never Never Land like most tunes played in the first part of the evening. Jane showed style, warmth and the necessary softness. The elasticity of her voice was as striking as was her ability to transmit the song's message, "I love you more each day".
 
In More Than You Know, Monheit showed all her vocal talent. Gershwin's I Was Doing All Right was the first tune of her next - still untitled - album to come soon. She demonstrated that she cannot only sing ballads like on Never Never Land. Once more, only the pianist, Berkman, kept up with her performance. Never Let Me Go came next, a tribute to approaching Valentine's day. Jane's intensity and her ability to connect to the public were stunning. For the first time, Paul Boothe on saxophone demonstrated that he is a talented young man.
 
The swinging Hit the Road to Dreamland was another song from her upcoming second album. My Foolish Heart from her debut album enchanted with its Bossa Nova edge. The last tune before the break was the title song from Never Never Land, performed with the required innocence and a flawless intonation.
 
In the second part, Jane Monheit showed another facet of her personality in The Meaning of Blues, a beautiful blue tune. The English version of Jobim's How Insensitive gratified with its grace and elegance. In Nobody Else But Me, Jane's natural connection with the public stunned once more - she has a huge potential in this regard. It was the first time she showed a vocal weakness. With I'll Be Seeing You followed Jane's favorite arrangement of the evening, as she confessed to the public. It started off with a dark rhythm provided by the bass. The last tune, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, was marvelous. The only thing Jane needs to improve are her gestures which testify to her young age.
 
The only encore, They Can't Take That Away From Me, showcased a self-assured Jane Monheit, with one hand, vamp-like, posed on the piano. Her voice has elegance, grace and style. She is the most outstanding young female singer I have seen so far and I am sure, we ain't have seen nothing of the real Jane yet. - Sheet music by Jane Monheit


Jane Monheit photograph from 2010. Photos copyright
© Vincent Soyez / Universal Music.


Jane Monheit photograph from 2010. Photo copyright
© Vincent Soyez / Universal Music.


Jane Monheit photograph from 2010. Photos copyright © Vincent Soyez / Universal Music.






New in September 2010: Jane Monheit: Home. Order the CD from Amazon.com Amazon.de, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.fr, Amazon.ca.



Jane Monheit. Photo copyright © Universal Music.


Jane Monheit: Surrender. CD released by Concord Records in 2007. Get it from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr. Added on June 20, 2008: If you went away gives me the feeling of classic Hollywood movie or of a Streisand song. Rio de maio with Ivan Lins is an escape to the glamorous side of Rio de Janeiro. The ten songs on Surrender are a joy to listen to, tender and full of love. They are not in the jazz but rather in the popular music field. The three Brazilian Portuguese songs are the most impressive. - Sheet music by Jane Monheit


Jane Monheit: The Lovers, The Dreamers and Me. Order the CD from Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.de. - Jane Monheit bei Amazon.de.


Jane Monheit: Never Neverland, 2000. Get her debut album from Amazon.fr, Amazon.de, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca. Musicians on Never Neverland: Jane Monheit, voc; Dave Berkman, p; Paul Boothe, ts; Orlando Le Fleming, b; Rick Montalbano, dm.


Jane Monheit: Taking a Chance on Love. Sony, September 2004. Get the CD from Amazon.com, Amazon.ca or Amazon.de.


DVD Jane Monheit In Concert - Taking a Chance on Love. Get the DVD from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.


Jane Monheit: Live at the Rainbow Room. December 2003. Get the live CD from Amazon.com, Amazon.ca.


Photograph of Jane Monheit. Photo copyright © Universal Music.


DVD Jane Monheit - Live at the Rainbow Room. Sony. Get the DVD from Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.de or Amazon.co.uk (different DVD covers).


Jane Monheit: Come Dream With Me, May 2001, N-Coded. Get it from: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.fr, Amazon.de. On her second CD, Jane Monheit continues to enchant us with her sweet and dreamy soprano voice, although Somewhere Over the Rainbow is a song she performed even better live in Zurich. Hit The Road To Dreamland is simply a joy and Antonio Carlos Jobim's bossa nova tune Waters of March is of a sensational freshness. The twelve songs prove once more that Jane Monheit is a queen of ballads. Luckily, on the CD, she is again accompanied by great musicians such as Kenny Barron, Michael Brecker, Tom Harrell, Gregory Hutchinson, Christian McBride and Richard Bona.
 

Jane Monheit: In The Sun. Sony, September/October 2002. Recorded with Ron Carter, Kenny Washington and other fine jazz musicians. Get the CD from: Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.co.uk. - Sheet music by Jane Monheit.
 

Deutsch Politik Geschichte Kunst Film Musik Lebensart Reisen
English Politics History Art Film Music Lifestyle Travel
Français Politique Histoire Arts Film Musique Artdevivre Voyages

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© Copyright www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.