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STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: The Return of Jane Monheit


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Today, let's check in on singer Jane Monheit, who will be back in St. Louis for the first time in several years to perform Wednesday, May 14 through Saturday, May 17 at Jazz at the Bistro.

Monheit last sang at the Bistro in December 2010, and she also visited this area in November 2011 to do a holiday concert at McKendree College in Lebanon, IL. Since then, she's put out one album, 2013's The Heart Of The Matter, and has continued to tour regularly, though perhaps at a slightly reduced pace than before she and her husband/drummer Rick Montalbano had their son Jack, who turns six this month.

A native of Long Island, the 36-year-old Monheit had a rather meteoric rise in her early career, enjoying favorable press attention from the start. She was the first runner-up in the 1998 Thelonious Monk Institute vocal competition while still a student at the Manhattan School of Music, and put out her first album Never Never Land just a year after graduating.

After two more albums for the Encoded Records label, she signed with Sony for her 2004 recording Taking A Chance On Love and the 2005 holiday-themed Season, then moved in 2008 to Concord Records, which has issued her last four recordings.

While while some of the material on those early albums may have been a stretch, thematically and emotionally, for a singer barely out of her teens, Monheit seems to have matured nicely in recent years, with time and experience adding a bit of gravitas to her current interpretations of those same songs and others.

Given that she's played St. Louis so many times - Monheit also performed here during the 2000s at The Sheldon and the now-defunct St. Louis Jazz and Heritage Festival - today we'll concentrate on videos that have come online since her last visit here, starting up top with a short promotional video for The Heart Of The Matter.

After the jump, there a clip of Monheit performing her medley of the Beatles tunes “Golden Slumbers" and “The Long and Winding Road," which she recorded for The Heart of the Matter.  This version is from December 2013 at the Catalina Jazz Club in Los Angeles.

Below that, you can see Monheit with a 16-piece piece big band from her alma mater Manhattan School of Music, performing “Lady Be Good" and “Hit The Road To Dreamland" during a gig last month at Birdland in NYC.

Next are two clips from a performance by Monheit and her trio last month at the club Nighttown in Cleveland. The videos of “There's A Small Hotel" and “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered" were shot on a cell-phone camera, so you pretty much see just Monheit by herself, but the audio quality is surprisingly good, considering.

The final clip is an interview that Monheit recorded for the TV channel Russia Today while touring that country in September 2012. While her interlocutor may seem a bit eccentric compared to a typical Western TV personality, it's still a fairly interesting look at Monheit and the state of her career as she was preparing to release her last album.

For more about Jane Monheit, check out her April 2013 interview with NPR's “Tell Me More" and this interview she did with London Jazz News before some appearances in England last fall.

You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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