It isn't hard to understand why Shawnn Monteiro would call this release One Special Night. Recorded live at Sculler's in Boston in 2002, this CD finds the underexposed jazz singer joining forces with some of bop's true heavyweights, including trumpeter Clark Terry, bassist Jimmy Woode (Monteiro's father), and drummer Jimmy Cobb; John Harrison III, a capable pianist, is also on board. One Special Night underscores the fact that while Monteiro is hardly the most original or groundbreaking singer in the world, she's enjoyably good at what she does -- and the singer's basic recipe (a strong Carmen McRae influence with traces of Sarah Vaughan and Marlena Shaw) serves her well when she wraps her big, full-bodied voice around overdone standards like "Just in Time," "All My Tomorrows," and "The Nearness of You." Monteiro isn't terribly adventurous -- not stylistically, not in her choice of material -- but she gets the job done and does so in an expressive, soulful fashion. Although Monteiro is featured on most of the tracks, she lays out a few times and lets the quartet take over on Thelonious Monk's "Let's Cool One" and Terry's playful "Having Chit'lins on the Champs Elysees, Paris" (which gives Terry a chance to sing and have some humorous fun with his Mumbles character). It should be noted that Terry was 81 when One Special Night was recorded -- not exactly a spring chicken, but the veteran improviser certainly isn't showing his age on any of these performances; in fact, his chops are holding up impressively well. One Special Night doesn't offer a lot of surprises, but it's a solid disc that paints an attractive, if conventional, picture of Monteiro and illustrates Terry's remarkable durability as a musician.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson