As noted by John Bream in the Star Tribune’s Big Gigs,
“Splendiferous New York jazz thrush Jane Monheit is returning with a themed program —“Hello Bluebird: Celebrating the Jazz of Judy Garland.” She promises to avoid the drama and concentrate on the joy of Judy’s jazz. The set list will include “You Gotta Have Me Go With You,” “Johnny One Note” and, of course, “Over the Rainbow” and “Hello Bluebird.” Wonder if performing in the state of Garland’s birth will affect Monheit.”
Here’s Jane’s landmark performance of “Over the Rainbow.”
About Jane Monheit with Hello Bluebird: Celebrating the Jazz of Judy Garland
Jane Monheit vocals • Michael Kanan piano • Neal Miner bass • Rick Montalbano drums
Jane Monheit has arrived. When she burst on the scene as a 20 year old finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, she was heralded as the next great jazz singer. Blessed with an extraordinary voice, she needed to find her own way as an artist. Now, 16 years later, that early promise has materialized.
Here’s how Stephen Holden described her in a performance review last month in the New York Times –
“Ms. Monheit, who is 36, … is a different musical creature from the shy but sultry prodigy who was prematurely proclaimed the heir to the great jazz vocal tradition in the early 2000s. Today she is a voluble, confident and sunny-natured stage presence who takes an almost voluptuous pleasure in singing. With her steady pitch, vocal stamina and rhythmic fluency, she is a natural band singer who in an earlier era would be crossing the country on a bus performing one-nighters from coast to coast.”
Los Angeles Times critic Don Heckman was even more descriptive in a review this past December –
“In song after song, Monheit’s Saturday night program unfolded with the gripping expressiveness of a true musical story teller. Blessed with an extraordinary instrument, she employed all her vocal skills – a far-reaching range, variable tonal qualities, briskly swinging rhythmic articulation and penetrating emotional intensity – at the service of her interpretations. Topping it off, she dipped into some scat singing on a few tunes, delivered with an inventiveness that would probably have delighted Ella Fitzgerald.
Call it a great evening of music for every member of Monheit’s enthusiastic audience. But I couldn’t help but feel that this was a performance that should be heard by other singers, too – a performance with sufficient creative information to aid anyone with ambitions for a vocal career.”
Among the Garland favorites you might hear on Tuesday are “The Sweetest Sound,” “That Old Black Magic,” “Zing Went the Strings of My Heart” and “The Boy Next Door.” Monheit’s longstanding trio is sure to bring new sparks to these and other Garland standards. Pianist Michael Kanan, bassist Neal Miner and drummer Rick Montalbano (Jane’s husband) exhibit an uncanny rapport that’s been developed through years of touring and recording together.
“Supremely gifted singer Jane Monheit is capable of tremendous vocal flights, dips, turns and extensions, but she doesn’t grandstand or hold a note simply to show off. Her goal is to convery a story, and she does so with grace” - Bobby Reed, DownBeat Magazine – Editor’s Pick, May 2013