While the early 2000s bore witness to a bevy of youthful standards singers with earnestly traditional vocals, New Yorker Jane Monheit preceded Norah Jones, Michael Buble, Katie Melua et al. She wowed the jazz world when she was barely out of her teens with her 2000 debut, NEVER NEVER LAND, and quickly ascended to stardom. Monheit's fourth record, 2004's TAKING A CHANCE ON LOVE, expresses her love for movie musicals of the 1930s and '40s. From both Monheit's song choices and the fervor she pours into these selections, it's virtually impossible to challenge the sincerity of her affection. Monheit opens by finding a truly original, offbeat angle to the oft-visited Fats Waller classic "Honeysuckle Rose" and continues to connect throughout the 11 subsequent tracks. She teams up with the aforementioned Michael Buble on a charged version of the always-lively "I Won't Dance" and finds every ounce of sultriness in "Why Can't You Behave?" and "Dancing in the Dark." As with most of the acclaimed jazz stylists of her day, Monheit possesses incredible vocal shrewdness, but it is her almost spiritual connection to the tunes of a bygone era that clearly sets her apart.
Not that this artist isn't pretty cool; far from it. Credited either as Bob Hardaway or Robert Hardaway, he spent much of the 20th century at the top of the studio musician scene in Los Angeles, playing a bewildering array of woodwind instruments — even bass clarinet, English horn, and alto flute — on a tall stack of records that stylistically give the impression of having been snatched at random out of a burning used record store, the Partridge Family, Dinah Washington, Bonnie Raitt, and his efforts with the Eddie Shu/Bob Hardaway Jazz Practitioners among them.
An excellent budget compilation of the wonderful Bethlehem Records label - what a roster of artists they had. Very good sound too. The Bethlehem label focused on jazz releases, and this set collects some great examples of jazz–vocally and instrumentally–between the years 1958-62. One look at the artists on this 60 track 2 CD set shows how many fine artists released music on the label. Like other collections from One Day Music, there's no booklet, only a short paragraph about the label and a few of the featured artists. The digitally remastered sound is good overall within the limits of recording styles of the era.
Member groups Poco, Eagles. Randy Meisner's "new" album from Rev-Ola is a fanatic's rarities-only collection of tunes recorded as either unreleased demos or finished demos for stuff from his other records of the late '70s, the '80s, and the early '90s. The liner notes by Joey Stec are nothing more than hero worship, the sonics on these things are substandard, and most of the material sounds very dated and unfinished. The press material claims that Spencer Davis, James Griffin of Bread, Nick St. Nicholas of Steppenwolf, Billy Swan, and Charlie Rich Jr. are all present here, and it's not necessarily to be doubted, but it would be nice to know where (as well as who some of the backing vocalists were, since they sound so very familiar).
Laura Mvula uncovers the influence of Nina Simone’s classical training in her version of Love Me or Leave Me. Laura Mvula illustrates the contrapuntal classical piano technique that Nina Simone puts to good use in her version of Love Me or Leave Me.
In 1920's Chicago, Ruth Etting wants to be a renowned singer, which is a far step away from her current work as a taxi dancer. Upon walking into the dance hall and seeing her, Chicago gangster Marty Snyder immediately falls for Ruth, and works toward being her lover, which he believes he can achieve by opening up singing opportunities for her. Ruth is initially wary of Marty, but makes it clear that she is not interested in him in a romantic sense.