SHE IS HERE!
It’s been some time since we’ve heard from Shawnn Monteiro, jazz chanteuse extraordinaire. While the pandemic derailed most performance, Monteiro, who also spends a good deal of her time teaching jazz vocals in a university setting, managed to pull a recording together, and we’re all happy that she did.
You Are There, her sixth release overall and third for Whaling City Sound, is the gorgeous sound of a veteran vocalist whose artistry is crafted in the mold of Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McCrae, and Nancy Wilson. For the ride, she enjoys the company and support of two distinguished trios. The first half of the recording are with her regularworking trio, which includes Michael Renzi on piano, Dave Zinno on bass and Steve Langone on drums. The second half is an earlier session at Brooklyn’s revered Systems Two studio, and features Kenny Barron on piano, Nat Reeves on bass, and Joe Farnsworth on drums. Trombonist Steve Davis and trumpeters John Allmark and Joshua Bruneau also make important contributions.
Monteiro handles her material the way a painter decorates a canvas with color. Her uber-talent lies in her ability to crush a ballad, whether it’s a sexy beast like “Alone at Last,” or a bluesy vocal like “You’ll See.” Her voice finds the loveliness between the notes, the subtleties of a lyric, the sincerity and passion of a song or a couplet or a simple line that comes straight from the soul, with a warm embrace.
Overall, the repertoire is split between standards-done in Shawnn’s uniquely tasteful and swinging way- and numbers that are less well known. In both instances, Shawnn makes her interpretations look easy, effortless. This, as most singers know, is quite difficult, but is what serves to separate Shawnn’s work from so many other jazz vocalists. She sets an example, a prototype, for how to deliver a song credibly, whether it’s old chestnuts or a lesser-known gem. Some who have heard this jewel of a recording have noted this is Shawnn’s best work to date. We heartily agree. But we urge you to listen for yourself.