Denine Monet

Lady Bird

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For her debut album, Denine Monet comes up with a theme built around the role birds have played in our culture. Monet, like many of her contemporary vocalists, has a large cast of technicians and musicians with her on this album, some playing exotic percussive instruments, which fit well with the theme and help create a musical avian atmosphere. The theme notwithstanding, there are very good tracks here and they are ones without affectation and extraneous noise. One is a blues based, a sometimes down and dirty rendition of Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments" with lyrics by Mark Murphy. Monet runs off some solid scatting and speaks in tongues wordless vocalizing on this track backed by the rhythm section of Frank Martin, Will Kennedy, and Joel Smith. Along similar lines comes inventive scatting on "Night in Tunisia" where the singer goes one on one with Darol Anger's violin. Bringing off the bench one of the visiting instruments, the cello, which along with Monet's languid vocalizing creates a feeling of lethargy for "Lazy Afternoon." Feathered creatures come into play as the opening on a haunting, intense "Stalking" with Frank Martin's avant gardish piano helping to create a dreamy aura. Balance is given to the session with a relatively straightforward but cleverly constructed medley of "You Go to My Head"/"There Will Never Be Another You." There's a dubbed vocalese duet with herself on "Fly, Lady Bird"/ "Half Nelson." Monet comes from that school of dramatic singers some of whose graduates include Norma Winstone and Abbey Lincoln. One result is that the singer has a very pleasant voice. In fact, she has several pleasant voices. For those who like their vocalizing laced with melodramatics and mannerisms, this album is a must.

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