Critics and fans alike couldn’t help but marvel when Jane Monheit introduced herself to the jazz world in 2000.
That was the year her debut recording, Never Never Land, surfaced. It was a versed sampler of standards sung with worldly confidence and backed by a support team that boasted esteemed instrumentalists including bassist Ron Carter and pianist Kenny Barron, and the famed saxophone alliance of Hank Crawford and David “Fathead” Newman. The latter two were known for their groundbreaking work decades earlier with Ray Charles.
All in all, the recording was an impressive way of establishing one’s intentions as a vocalist. But then, Monheit, who was 22 at the time, was used to that. She spent her childhood plotting a singing career. She wasn’t shy in telling people about it, either.
“I pretty much knew that was going to be my vocation from the time I was tiny,” said Monheit, now 34, who makes her Kentucky debut this weekend with performances in Louisville and Richmond. “When I was a toddler, a pre-schooler, I knew I was going to be a singer. I told anyone I knew that.”