Jane Monheit w/ Mark O'Connor
Rich romance, stunning vocal clarity, and frisky improvisational techniques have earned Jane Monheit her place among the top jazz singers of the decade. Her voice, which has been compared to jazz icon Ella Fitzgerald, has a transformative quality that invites the listener to enter the music as if it were a comfortable and well-loved room. In a rare performance at the Jefferson Center, Monheit will be accompanied by strings master Mark O'Connor, renowned for his wide-ranging contributions to classical music, bluegrass and gypsy jazz.
Born to a musical family, Monheit knew from an early age that she wanted to sing. While studying at the Manhattan School of Music, Jane performed in cabarets in New York's Greenwich Village. Her college boyfriend, Rick Montalbano—whom she married in 2002—directed her toward the jazz scene by getting her to sing for his jazz quintet, which played frequently at a club in uptown New York.
In the past decade, Monheit has released ten CDs, with her recent Home as perhaps her most mature, heartfelt album yet. Featuring a collection of standards that represents a passionate return to her roots as a jazz musician, the album also marks her debut as sole producer of a recording.
“I’m so much more drawn to the happier songs,” she says with a laugh, noting that this is the first album she’s made in its entirety since becoming a mother. (Her son was born halfway through the recording of her previous album, The Lovers, The Dreamers, And Me.) “Having a beautiful child in my life has really lightened me up, especially where music is concerned! I’ll always have a high level of drama, though…it makes me who I am, and certainly helps me be better at what I do!”
Monheit, whose father was a bluegrass banjo player, will be accompanied for her Jefferson Center concert by violinist/fiddler Mark O'Connor. A product of America's rich aural folk tradition as well as classical and flamenco music, Mark O'Connor's creative journey has led him to define a new American Classical music, and a vision of an entirely American school of string playing. As the Los Angeles Times warmly noted, he has "crossed over so many boundaries, that his style is purely personal."
"I grew up with a strong attachment to bluegrass...," Monheit said. "[A]rtists like Mark are heroes of mine."
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