Jane at Twenty (Music Thoughts: Come What May, Jane Monheit)

Jane Monheit’s newest album, ‘Come What May’ is a celebration of her two decades since her breakthrough debut album. And it’s a perfect way to celebrate what she is about. Monehit has always straddled the line between jazz and cabaret singing – she has the instrumental jazz ear combined with a sensitivity to great lyric interpretation. And her full supple voice is full of richness that can sometimes be too intoxicating. But, she is never ever boring. Take, for example, her version here of ‘My Funny Valentine.’ This is a song that has bene sung by every winger in the world, and to be frank, very few people get it right. Monheit nails all the emotions here – you hear every wonderful Larry Hart lyric and the story she tells is as heartbreaking as the song was meant to convey. I found myself hanging on and listening to every word of the song – and trust me when I say that I have heard this tune hundreds of millions of times by now. And I can’t remember the last time I paid attention to anyone else singing ‘The Man Who Got Away’ by a singer whose name was not Judy Garland. Monheit’s version gives an almost opposite energy to the original – it’s cool laid back but you still feel the love of something and someone going awry, and it’s just as unforgettable. Some would argue that Monheit’s jazz licks are much too planned and rehearsed to be ‘authentic’ but who cares? There is enough honesty in her interpretation to always win me over.

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