While the early 2000s bore witness to a bevy of youthful standards singers with earnestly traditional vocals, New Yorker Jane Monheit preceded Norah Jones, Michael Buble, Katie Melua et al. She wowed the jazz world when she was barely out of her teens with her 2000 debut, NEVER NEVER LAND, and quickly ascended to stardom. Monheit's fourth record, 2004's TAKING A CHANCE ON LOVE, expresses her love for movie musicals of the 1930s and '40s.
From both Monheit's song choices and the fervor she pours into these selections, it's virtually impossible to challenge the sincerity of her affection. Monheit opens by finding a truly original, offbeat angle to the oft-visited Fats Waller classic "Honeysuckle Rose" and continues to connect throughout the 11 subsequent tracks. She teams up with the aforementioned Michael Buble on a charged version of the always-lively "I Won't Dance" and finds every ounce of sultriness in "Why Can't You Behave?" and "Dancing in the Dark." As with most of the acclaimed jazz stylists of her day, Monheit possesses incredible vocal shrewdness, but it is her almost spiritual connection to the tunes of a bygone era that clearly sets her apart.