(2 of 2)
Now, on the new disc, they glow. Monheit amiably swings Hit the Road to Dreamland and swoops and soars very nicely through So Many Stars. But it's on an exceptional Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most and several other slow-tempo cuts that she demonstrates an emotional ripeness barely present on her first CD. It's true that she sometimes doesn't get terribly deep into the lyrics, particularly on Antonio Carlos Jobim's soul-divining Waters of March--but what 23-year-old could?
Still, if words occasionally seem beside the point for Monheit, as they almost always were for her idol Fitzgerald, her musical skill and taste do not fail her. Just three years ago she was working happy hours in nearly empty New York City clubs for tip money. "If I was lucky," she recalls, "it would cover the subway fare." Today in the midst of a daunting 13-city tour, as she charges from coast to coast fueled by the success of her new CD, she's about to break through the narrow walls of the jazz world. Count on this: when she does, the carpers and complainers will say that she was never a jazz singer in the first place. But they'll be wrong.