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On Mixing Music And Motherhood: Jazz Vocalist Jane Monheit

Jazz Alley

Jazz vocalist Jane Monheit first visited us in the KUOW studios just after we moved into our then new facility on University Avenue in 1999. 

Public radio listeners and music lovers have followed Monheit's career for more than a decade now.  She made a sensational debut recording shortly after graduating from the Manhattan School of Music in the late 1990s. Just out of college, she generated a huge buzz winning top honors in the 1998 Theolonius Monk Jazz Competition, a prestigious showcase of jazz veterans and newcomers.  She’s made 11 recordings, received Grammy nominations and always brings impeccable vocal technique, savvy musicianship and imaginative interpretations and improvisations to everything she sings.

Monheit's latest recording is called “The Heart of the Matter.”  Monheit and her pianist, Michael Kanan, came back to visit us in our performance studio this week for a live performance. They played and sang two tunes by celebrated American songwriters Mel Torme and Irving Berlin, and spoke with KUOW’s Dave Beck.

In the performance studio conversation, Monheit spoke about how her life is very different now than in those heady days after her first recording. She’s the mother of a 5 year-old son, Jack, and she and her husband and band drummer Rick Montalbano travel together with their child to almost every performance they give.  Many of the tunes on Jane’s new recording “The Heart of the Matter” are inspired by motherhood.