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Cherry Pop

Title - 'Surrender' (Concord Records)
Artist - Jane Monheit

'Surrender,' Jane Monheit's seventh release and her first with Concord Records finds the velvet-voiced chanteuse in top vocal form, interpreting a selection of pop songs and standards woven together with dreamy bossa nova rhythms. I was a little concerned about what direction Monheit's recording career would take after she departed Sony, where she released 'Taking a Chance on Love' and 'The Season.'

The former is an absolutely sublime collection of standards from MGM musicals, while the latter, a Christmas disc, contains moments of brilliance but stylistically is somewhat disjointed and quite frankly a bit of a mess style-wise. With 'Surrender,' Monheit moves away from the straight pop-jazz style of 'Taking a Chance on Love,' and returns to the Brazilian-influenced, bossa nova style pop that was often evident on her first three albums for the N-Coded label.

'Surrender' is so utterly lovely, lush and romantic and seamlessly constructed, it reminds me of the classic Brazilian-style concept album Frank Sinatra recorded with the inimitable Antonio Carlos Jobim forty years ago. Therefore it is fitting that on Surrender Monheit puts her own spin on two of Jobim's compositions -- "So Tinha De Ser Come Voce" and "Caminhos Cruzados" (the latter featuring Toots Thielemans accompanying Jane on the harmonica). She turns in an absolutely stunning version of "Moon River" -- Monheit at once makes the song both a tribute to the original version while making it entirely her own with her pitch-perfect, wistful interpretation.

There is a gorgeous duet with Ivan Lins on his composition "Rio De Maio." Monheit's also accompanied by composer Sergio Mendes on "So Many Stars," one of my favorite tracks. My favorite tracks are beautiful, lyrical "If You Went Away," "Surrender," which shows off Monheit's vocal range, her re-invention of Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed," and the elegant simplicity of Johnny Mandel's "A Time for Love." Target is selling Surrender with a bonus track, "The Shining Sea."





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