Photo by KIRK RICHARD SMITH/AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS
Largo Cultural Center welcomes jazz vocalist Jane Monheit Feb. 14.
LARGO – For those seeking a special treat for Valentine’s Day, jazz and adult contemporary vocalist Jane Monheit will romance audience members with a performance Thursday, Feb. 14, 7:30 p.m., at Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive.
Tickets start at $34.50. A $5 charge and applicable service fee will be added at the door. Call 587-6793 or visit largoarts.com.
Monheit has firmly established herself as one of the post-millennial jazz world's foremost vocalists. She has been a featured performer in the nationally televised Christmas at the White House and has appeared on numerous television shows including “Late Show with David Letterman,” “The View,” “The Today Show” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
An extraordinarily gifted jazz vocalist whose sincere and romantic interpretations of exceptional songs has made her a favorite in both the jazz and cabaret worlds, Monheit has garnered numerous accolades in the past decade. Her first album, “Never Never Land,” was voted top debut recording by the Jazz Journalist’s Association and stayed on the Billboard Jazz chart for over a year.
Subsequent albums either charted high, or in several cases, debuted at No. 1, and yielded two Grammy nominations in the Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocals category, recognizing the work of Vince Mendoza on 2002’s “In The Sun” and 2004’s “Taking A Chance On Love.”
Monheit’s complete discography includes “Never Never Land” (2000), “Come Dream with Me” (2001), “In the Sun” (2002), “Live at the Rainbow Room” (2003), “Taking a Chance on Love” (2004), “The Very Best of Jane Monheit” (2005), “The Season” (2005), “Surrender” (2007), “The Lovers, The Dreamers, and Me” (2009) and “Home” (2010).
Monheit celebrated the 10th anniversary of her recording career in 2010. To mark the anniversary, the jazz vocalist released “Home,” a heartfelt collection of standards that represented a passionate return to her roots as a jazz musician. The CD features the band she has worked with onstage and off for most of her career, as well as special guests such as John Pizzarelli, Mark O’Connor, and Larry Goldings.
“Home” is perhaps the lightest album of Monheit’s 10-CD discography. Treasured songs include the upbeat Arthur Schwartz/Howard Dietz classic “A Shine On Your Shoes,” the swinging Rodgers and Hart gem “Everything I’ve Got Belongs To You,” a charming rendition of Irving Berlin’s “Isn’t It A Lovely Day,” and Jerome Kern/B.G. Desylva’s accentuate-the-positive “Look For The Silver Lining.”
“I’m so much more drawn to the happier songs,” Monheit said in a press release at the time. She explained that “Home” was the first album she had made in its entirety since becoming a mother. “Having a beautiful child in my life has really lightened me up, especially where music is concerned."
New CD due in April
Monheit will release her 11th CD, “The Heart of the Matter,” on Tuesday, April 16, via Emarcy/Decca Records.
The new CD is said to traverse the spectrum of popular music, ranging from The Beatles to Broadway.
“The Heart Of The Matter” is described as being an homage to great songwriters and voices from across a variety of musical genres. Monheit has crafted a carefully chosen and eclectic selection of 12 tunes ranging from “Golden Slumbers/The Long And Winding Road” by The Beatles to Buffy St. Marie’s “Until It’s Time For You To Go” as well as “Depende de Nos” by Ivan Lins. Monheit has even included her take on the “Sesame Street” classic, “Sing,” a song she often sings for her young son Jack.
In addition, the “The Heart Of The Matter” contains the first song recorded by Monheit on which she has written both the words and the music, “Night Night Stars.”
"This album is really different from my last,” Monheit said in a press release. “I knew it was time for the focus of a project to be lyrical interpretation … over the years, it's become the most important part of my approach to music. The songs were chosen just for that reason. I didn't worry about genre or style – just that each song dealt with a message I wanted to share or story I wanted to tell."
“The Heart Of The Matter” was produced and arranged by Gil Goldstein, and recorded this past November at Avatar Studios in New York City. The CD features Monheit on lead and background vocals, Michael Kanan on piano, Gil Goldstein on electric piano and accordion, Romero Lubambo on acoustic guitar, Neal Miner on bass, Rick Montalbano on drums, Rogerio Boccato on percussion, David Eggar and Richard Locker on cello, Barry Crawford and Kathleen Nester on alto flute and Sheryl Henze on bass flute and c flute.
On “The Heart of the Matter,” Monheit continues to dig deep into what brought her to this music in the first place: great songs, and her passion for interpreting them. Her closeness to these songs and the musicians who play them combined with the fearless honesty with which she conveys her musical ideology lends great maturity and sincerity to both her studio work and her live performances.
Pinellas audiences will no doubt enjoy an evening of incomparable romantic interpretations of celebrated standards and songs as Monheit plays the Largo Cultural Center this Valentine’s Day.