Jane Monheit's sophomore outing follows in the same accessible mold as her debut, Never Never Land. The young, fairly green vocalist is joined again by all-star musicians, including renowned pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Greg Hutchinson, with Michael Brecker and Tom Harrell making a handful of guest appearances each. Closing the album on a surprising note, African phenom Richard Bona joins for an intimate duo rendition of Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You," playing acoustic guitar accompaniment and overdubbing fretless bass filigree behind Monheit's vocal. Monheit's exquisite voice is becoming more seasoned and expressive, particularly on sassier numbers like "Hit the Road to Dreamland" and "I'm Through with Love." She also wraps her seductive charm around Jobim's swaying free-association poem "Waters of March" and takes on two of jazz's grand ballads, Billy Strayhorn's "Something to Live For" and Fran Landesman's "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most." The latter, a duet with Kenny Barron, prompts one to compare and contrast Chaka Khan's rendition with Chick Corea on 1982's Echoes of an Era. "Blame It on My Youth," "I'll Be Seeing You," and "Over the Rainbow" are pleasant but less remarkable.
Jackie Evancho's Dream With Me In Concert is the perfect video companion to her chart-topping album, Dream With Me, which was produced by the legendary David Foster…
Jackie Evancho: Dream with Me in Concert, marks the solo concert debut of the 10-year-old girl with the extraordinary soprano voice.
Hunter's third album for Alligator finds him in tip-top form, sounding like a man half his age (62 at the time) and brandishing a nasty guitar tone that supposedly died out with 1950s one-track mono recording. Everything on here is kept in a nice Texas roadhouse framework, with plenty of air moving behind Long John from a fine combo that includes Derek O'Brien on guitar and Sarah Brown on bass. For his end of it, Hunter sounds positively involved on tunes like "Irene," "Crazy Love," the rockin' "Bad Feet," the uptempo "Dream About the Devil," a fun duet with T.D. Bell on "West Texas Homecoming," and the title track. With his songwriting hand clearly defined on all ten tunes here, Hunter has made his most realized album to date, showing him still in sharp command of his prestigious powers.
Another old TD soundtrack had been made available on CD in 1994. The story of the US film, directed by Stephen Sommers in 1989, does not seem very extraordinary: it deals with the well known subject of man and woman, cars and money… As stated on the CD insert, this album was prepared without the musical authorisation of TD. This resulted in a large number of very short music tracks.
The beautifully subtle pop/jazz vocalist has been one of the great old souls of music since launching her recording career after winning the first runner up prize at the 1998 Thelonious Monk Institute Vocal Competition. But she celebrated the significant chronological milestone of passing 30 while making this graceful and exquisite album. Beyond that, Monheit also celebrates her new motherhood to son Jack, and that's what inspired the inclusion of the always welcome "Rainbow Connection"; she sings the charming song – and its lyrics that inspired the name of the recording – to Jack all the time. At home, however, it doesn't have the exquisite Gil Goldstein accordion touch that makes this one of the best renditions ever. Goldstein arranged many of the tracks, but one of the most exciting jazzy turns, Monheit's swinging, swaggering "Get Out of Town," was done by pianist Michael Kanan, who was part of the ensemble that recorded half of these tracks while the singer was still pregnant. In many ways, then, this 13-track collection is a chronicle of the singer pre- and post-motherhood – and all something that Jack will be proud of as he grows older. As always, the key to a great interpreter's project is the choice of material, and Monheit makes interesting picks, ranging from a wistful take on Paul Simon's "I Do It for Your Love" to Fiona Apple's dark and haunting "Slow Like Honey" and Corinne Bailey Rae's "Like a Star".