Friday, January 20, 2017

David Benoit Featuring Jane Monheit 2 In Love

David Benoit Featuring Jane Monheit
2 In Love

When asked for something new after over 30 instrumental albums, David Benoit thought that an album featuring vocals might be what is needed. He decided to write new songs, but not a lyricist he had friends Lorraine Feather and Mark Winkler as well as new friend Spencer Day to wed his songs that were all over the place and then recruited Jane Monheit to sing these new songs that were "all over the place stylistically". The result is a new Concord album by Benoit featuring Jane Monheit, "2 In Love."

Its a really lovely musical combination, as Monheit's lovely voice is able to handle the spanish-tinged jazz of the opening "Barcelona Nights" (and Pat Kelly's acoustic guitar enhances the performance). In contrast, "This Dance" sounds like a sophisticated cabaret combo's rendition of a superior Broadway tune." "Two in Love" is a lovely bit of sophisticated jazzy pop with a delicious vocal and a nice latin touch with a stately piano solo. "Dragonfly," has a piano trio is augmented by strings behind Monheit's as she hopes about love waiting for her. The clarity of Monheit's phrasing and her marvelous pitch is displayed on "Love Will Light the Way," which is another song that suggests how marvelous Monheit might be on the musical stage. "Fly Away" has a folk-like feel to its melody while "Something's Gotta Give" is another gem that sounds like it was written for the stage.

Tim Weisberg plays flute on the relaxed "instrumental "Love in Hyde Park," and the album closes with a solo Benoit performance of a medley "Love Theme from Candide / Send in the Clowns," that is marvelously played in a fairly straight-forward manner. Marvelously played and sang, "2 In Love" is a recording that evokes a posh cabaret and a sophisticated musical audience that would be appreciating the magic Benoit and Monheit spin.

I received my review copy from Concord. This review appeared originally in the September-October 2015  Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 362). Here is a preview of "Two in Love."

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