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The Heart Of The Matter

3.1 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Grammy-nominated vocalist Jane Monheit will release her 11th CD The Heart Of The Matter on April 16, 2013 with Emarcy/Decca Records. An homage to great songwriters and voices from a variety of musical genres, the new album is an eclectic and carefully crafted selection of 12 tunes ranging from Golden Slumbers/The Long And Winding Road by The Beatles to Buffy St. Maries Until Its Time For You To Go to Depende de Nos by Ivan Lins. Jane adds a few personal favorites into the mix such as her take on the Sesame Street classic, Sing, a song she often sings for her young son Jack and Night Night Stars, a Monheit original and the first song she ever recorded. The release of The Heart Of The Matter will be accompanied by select tour dates worldwide.

This album is really different from my last, Jane says. I knew it was time for the focus of a project to be lyrical interpretation…over the years, its become the most important part of my approach to music. The songs were chosen just for that reason…I didnt worry about genre or style…just that each song dealt with a message I wanted to share or story I wanted to tell.

The Heart Of The Matter was produced and arranged by noted producer Gil Goldstein and recorded this past November at Avatar Studios in New York City. The CD features Jane on lead and background vocals, Michael Kanan on piano, Gil Goldstein on electric piano and accordion, Romero Lubambo on acoustic guitar, Neal Miner on bass, Rick Montalbano on drums, Rogerio Boccato on percussion, David Eggar and Richard Locker on cello, Barry Crawford and Kathleen Nester on alto flute, and Sheryl Henze on bass flute and c flute.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 16, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EmArcy
  • ASIN: B00BH412DC
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,077 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
With the exception of the Brazilian songs, I can't listen to this CD. I have been a long time fan ... ever since I stopped my car to listen to an unknown singer's beautiful rendition of Detour Ahead - the first time I ever heard Jane sing. Here she sounds really twangy. Maybe she has changed vocal coaches? I hope this is not to be a permanent change. I love her naturally warm, full, rich tone ... but I couldn't find it anywhere on this album.
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Format: Audio CD
Jane Monheit is my favorite jazz singer. I have most of her CDs and have seen her live on three occasions. What has been most distinctive to me about her in comparison to other singers, besides the gorgeous tone and warmth of her voice, is that EVERY SINGLE phrasing is spot on, not one "throwaway" word or line. It is like she is sculpting the song, but not in a forced way whatsoever. She can bring the most subtle emotions into a word or phrase with a slight change in her voice. Her timing is impeccable. Because she has been so far above other female vocalists, I usually have to turn off the radio when other female jazz singers are on, particularly when they are butchering a song that she has recorded.

I have not listened to the entire CD, just the samples, and like one of the other reviewers, it was difficult for me to get through them except the Brazilian songs. I have to echo what other reviewers have said: her voice is twangy and nasal. The song choices are odd, with too many ballads that start to sound the same. All of her other CDs have wonderful variety, and she has done so well with upbeat songs. Even in the brief samples, I thought she missed some notes. And there was a forced vibrato at times. I don't know what's going on with her that resulted in this unfortunate vocal performance and lackluster collection of songs, but I desperately hope that she can get back on track.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In a little game of "guess the artist," I played a sample or two from "Heart of the Matter" to a professional-musician friend of mine. (She's an equally big Jane fan.) She commented, "Wow... she sounds a lot like Jane Monheit, but very nasal. Not nearly as good." She then looked at me bug-eyed and said, "No!"

Alas, I must concur with the other negative reviews on this. Choice of material is poor - the music is uninspired and uninspirational. Voice is cloyingly twangy. What's happening? Has she moved on from her long-time voice coach, Peter Eldridge?

Please, Jane, get back to your roots!

For others new to Monheit, check out CDs from 2007 ("Surrender") and earlier: My Foolish Heart, They Can't Take That Away from Me, Moon River, Cheek to Cheek (live), Never Let Me Go, Waters of March, and Over the Rainbow are tops!
2 Comments 8 of 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
I have been a fan of Jane Monheit for years. I love her "Surrender" album especially, but they are all first rate. Until this album. It doesn't even sound like Jane singing here. The change really is that stark. Her vocal styling sounds very fake and nasal - not sure what she is trying to do, but it simply does not work. And it is the same on all the songs, unfortunately. Jane - please come back to us!!!
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Format: MP3 Music
I am a big, long-time fan of Jane Monheit; I have every album (except the Christmas one) she has released (my overall favorite is Surrender, although I have many, many individual and multiple favorites from all her other albums).

I don't understand how (or why - misguided loyalty?) anyone who has a history with her could possibly like this unexplainable travesty. Even the cover photo - is she looking with fearful awe at an alien spaceship landing? - is weirdly off key.

Here's what I wrote in comments to two early reviewers here:

"I think you are very generous in being only 'slightly disappointed.'
It almost seems she went out of her way* to make an awful album. Many of the cuts are seriously painful to listen to. If anyone advised her on the selections he/she/they should be cut loose.
If this were my first exposure to her, it would be my last. Fortunately, like you, I have everything else she has released, so I can treat this as an aberration.
* Turns out (in her own words, from a PBS radio interview) she had a very limited budget for this album and all cuts were done in one take. It shows."

and

"She should give some very serious thought to recalling this album and destroying all master tapes. She is SO much better than this.
Your music 'while committing suicide' comment is spot on. ["Until It's Time For You To Go" - 6 minutes of excruciating torture - could be played at an execution and the condemned would shout "I'll go NOW.....PLEASE!!!" after about 5 seconds.]
ETA: 5/9/13 When I posted this comment, I had only listened to the first four tracks - because that was all [the heartbreak] I could [tolerate]. I have now made it past 'A Gente Merece...
Read more ›
7 Comments 11 of 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I own all of Jane's works. Yes, she's a nasal mumbler on this album and many of us are disappointed that we can't hear her previous gorgeous tone. But don't let that keep you away from listening to another one of her amazing albums here, especially to Jane's standout renditions of "A Gente Merece Ser Feliz," "Born To Be Blue" and "I Get Along Without You Very Well." Even more to Jane's credit, her spectacular Brazilian jazz transformation of The Carpenters' 1970s classic "Sing" (which I detested in the 1970s but LOVE on this album) will show you that she knows jazz and she still knows what she's doing despite her new, inferior tone. Do yourself a favor and skip the Beatles medley and the failed Streisand-esque attempt at "Two Lonely People" (which are both simply horrendous) and enjoy the rest of this well-constructed jazz album.
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