Jane Monheit: A magical voice

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Jane Monheit was born in Oakdale, New York on Long Island. She began singing professionally while attending Connetquot High School. She graduated in 1995. At 17, she began to study at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City under the tutelage of Peter Eldridge. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in music in 1999. At the age of 20, as a senior, she won the first runner-up prize at the 1998 Thelonious Monk Institute Vocal Competition.

Monheit’s classically trained voice has been compared to that of Ella Fitzgerald, whom she lists as one of her influences. Even though she is often cited as a jazz vocalist, her recorded tracks range from jazz to MGM/RKO 1930s–1950s musicals and Latin American rhythms such as the song “Comecar De Novo.”

Her albums include Come Dream With Me (2001), In The Sun (2002), and a live album, Live at the Rainbow Room (2003) which also had a complementary DVD release.

Her fifth album Taking a Chance on Love was released in September 2004. It rose to the number one spot on Billboard’s traditional jazz chart and entered Billboard’s top 100 pop chart the first week it was released. This album included the song “Over the Rainbow”, which was included on the soundtrack for the film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

The Taking a Chance on Love DVD was released in March 2005 and contains performances from the Brecon Jazz Festival in Wales, UK. In October 2005, Monheit released her sixth album The Season, her first holiday-themed album, which debuted in the top 10 on Billboard’s jazz chart. Monheit told jazzreview.com it was inspired by Fitzgerald’s Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas.

Her first CD for concord, “Surrender” was released in May 2007, with a new version of “Moon River” and various Bossa Nova-styled songs.

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