Esteemed record producer Joel Dorn once said of Jane Monheit, "Jane loves jazz and loves singing with jazz musicians, but there are other chapters in her book." This versatility may be the reason jazz purists remain skeptical of the 25-year-old phenom. It's their loss.
Whether her music is jazz, pop, cabaret or something in between is subject to debate. What's indisputable is her voice, an exquisite instrument that gets better with each new album. Her latest effort, In the Sun, finds Monheit singing classics such as Ellington's "Just Squeeze Me" and Rodgers and Hart's "It Never Entered My Mind." She also offers a sprightly version of the well-worn "Cheek to Cheek" and a surprisingly languorous take on "Tea for Two." But beyond those standards, Monheit pursues an interest in Brazilian music with Ivan Lins' gorgeous "Começar de Novo" and in contemporary pop with the Libby Titus/Eric Kaz torch song "Love Has No Pride" (made popular by Linda Ronstadt).
Some of the skepticism regarding Monheit may stem from her marketing team's emphasis on her looks over her voice. That's a fair criticism, but when it comes time to simply stand up and sing, Monheit doesn't disappoint. Although she hasn't stretched her repertoire into many bold new areas, she's still quite young and clearly has the talent to do just about anything she wants. Her career will definitely bear watching.