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Jane Monheit At the Oak Room

- Jazz and Cabaret

Jane Monheit:
You and the Night and the Music
Dedicated to Composer, Arthur Schwartz
The Oak Room
In the Famed
Algonquin Hotel
Barbara McGurn, Press
Jane Monheit Ė Vocals: Mike Kanan Ė Piano
Miles Okazaki Ė Guitar: Orlando LeFleming -- Bass
Rick Montalbano Ė Drums

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
June 16, 2004

Jane Monheit is a rising star in Cabaret. I had the pleasure of being introduced to this dazzling singer at the Oak Room, while dining on grilled salmon, salad with chevre, grilled vegetables, and elegant sorbets and biscotti. To wine and dine in the Algonquin Hotelís Oak Room is to be royalty for one evening. The wait staff and Hans, Maitre dí, are generous and professional.

Jane Monheit and her very handsome quartet of energetic and engaging musicians performed music composed by the renowned Broadway and Hollywood Composer, Arthur Schwartz (Dancing in the Dark). In her svelte black dress, Ms. Monheit began the set with Alone Together. Her tonalities were soothing and flawless. Ms. Monheit looks at her guests (and family) and draws us in. Confession was sung in a slow rhythm with sexy undertones. Crooning the lyrics that refer to a late night out, Ms. Monheit runs her hands through her hair for the psychological effect. Her casual attitude throughout this set did not affect her terrific range, no vocal straining whatsoever.

At times Ms. Monheit would skip the lyrics to allow Mr. Okazaki to fill in on guitar just before she would end the song or final bars. Ms. Monheit has porcelain features, and she shone brightly during her rendition of In the Still of the Night (Cole Porter). Each note faded to a whisper, as keys were switched effortlessly. Why Canít You Behave? (Cole Porter) featured a nice percussion solo by Mr. Montalbano. Played in a slow swing beat, Mr. Okazakiís melody flew off his strings. Taking a Chance on Love (Vernon Duke) was performed in an upbeat swing.

Ms. Monheit uses her entire persona to enhance her presentation. In By Myself, Ms. Monheit alternated the lead with the guitar. Haunted Heart was sung with mellifluous depth, and this was a breathless moment in the Oak Room. Dancing in the Dark allowed the band to take over, as Ms. Monheit stood silent. The encore, You and the Night and the Music, was performed in a Rhumba beat, with Mr. Montalbano turning a clave beat. Mr. Kanan was a superb piano accompanist and provided a rich texture to this set. Mr. LeFleming, on bass, enhanced the romanticism and mood.

The Algonquin Hotelís Oak Room will re-open in August, when the Hotel has completed its elegant re-decoration and its famous, furry cat has returned from its well-deserved vacation. Check the Algonquin Website for dates and details.

Jane Monheit's Mother and Grandmother, Stacey Kent's Mother
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Jane Monheit
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Jane Monheit's Band
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at