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  February 2009

Jane Monheit interview page 2

JM:  And now, to get to do it flying around the world with my husband and my son and sometimes the dog too and everything and we’re just this family unit of musicians.  It’s so great.  My son is already playing with my husband’s drumsticks nonstop and it’s just the most fun.  It’s such an amazing life.

Jazz Monthly:  Well, just make sure you videotape some of that.

JM:  I know.  I have to.  I need to get a video camera.  Can you believe my son is seven months old and I don’t have a video camera yet?  Am I a terrible mother or what?

Jazz Monthly: Shame on you! (Both laugh)

JM:  I know, I know, but we’ve got more photographs than you could possibly ever even imagine.

Jazz Monthly:  Oh yeah, well, that’s the cool old school thing, you know?

JM:  Yeah.

Jazz Monthly:  Absolutely, and those are treasures that you just can’t put a price on.

JM:  Oh yeah.

Jazz Monthly:  Absolutely.  So now you’ve had so many great experiences and so many great moments in your career, are there some profound ones or even lessons learned, say, from the beginning of your career to now?

JM:  Oh gosh, I mean, there have been so many things I can’t even list them all.  I mean, there have been people that I’ve gotten to work with that I look back now and can’t even believe that it happened.  People that have passed on now like Ray Brown and Tommy Flanagan and, gosh, so many incredible people, and Joel Dorn.  I mean, and even now, every time I work with Ivan Lins, even though we’re friends, it’s still to me just like this monumental moment, and people I’ve even just gotten the chance to meet, like Julie Andrews.  I mean, the most incredible people.  I’ve been very, very lucky.  So I can’t even think of a definitive moment because there have just been so many.  I’ve been very fortunate.  I had a lot of opportunities early on and I don’t know why, but at least I was able to fully appreciate it, thank goodness.

Jazz Monthly:  Yes indeed.  That’s so important. Well, you’re living a good life and when you’re living good, good things happen, you know?

JM:  Yeah, and it’s good to know it, you know what I mean?  I’m just glad that I can look at my life and realize that it’s great and not be one of those people constantly wishing for more or that things were better or different or that I was rich or famous or any stupid stuff like that, you know what I mean?

Jazz Monthly:  Yeah, absolutely.

JM:  I honestly don’t have any of that in me and thank goodness for that.

Jazz Monthly:  True that.  It gets in the way of the real things, it really does.

JM:  It does.  I mean, when you’re too busy looking at what you don’t have, you’re never gonna appreciate what you do have.

Jazz Monthly:  Well, you made a very good point.  An artist once said that to me.  She said “I never worry about what I don’t have,” which I think is a beautiful thing, yeah.

JM:  Yeah.

Jazz Monthly:  Jane, these are 13 of the most fantastic songs that I have heard in some time.

JM:  Well, thank you.

Jazz Monthly:  Oh, they’re gorgeous and I gotta tell ya, “Slow Like Honey” is just oh….

JM:  (Laughs.)

Jazz Monthly:  You were just all in that song.  It’s just a beautiful arrangement, just great.

JM:  It’s funny because I was a little apprehensive about doing that one because, I mean, I love Fiona Apple and I was obsessed with her first record.  When it came out I was in college.  She and I are about the same age and I listened to that record nonstop and so her version of that tune is so ingrained in my head that I didn’t know if I could get away from it, and then Gil did this arrangement that just totally made the tune for me, like something totally different and it ended up being cool, but I was nervous going in to do that one.  I was just “How am I gonna not just not be Fiona when she’s so awesome?”

Jazz Monthly:  Well, that is so true, but you really, really put your spirit and emotion in this song.  It’s just gorgeous.

JM:  Well, thank you.

Jazz Monthly:  That one and “I Do It for Your Love,” what a track, man.

JM:  That lyric is so incredible and that’s why I chose that song.  I’ve actually been wanting to record that tune for years.

Jazz Monthly:  Oh, really?

JM:  And the lyric just makes me crazy.  It’s unbelievable.  And so I thought it was kind of interesting to do that one because actually that’s kind of where the title comes in too.  That’s one of the tunes on my record that’s kind of like me extrapolating a little bit.  It’s not really like my own life experience.  I haven’t really been through that.

Jazz Monthly:  Yeah.

JM:  And there are several tunes on the record like that, so that’s why I like the title because it sort of lets you know that I’m talking from a lot of different points of view on this one.

Jazz Monthly:  Yeah, and speaking of the title, The Lovers, the Dreamers & Me.  Are you so different from the lovers and the dreamers?

JM:  No, not at all, but it’s just sort of like maybe different facets of my own personality or really, I mean, it kind of refers to these different characters that I play on the record.

Jazz Monthly: How cool.

JM:  Which is something that I really hadn’t done before.  I always used to try to make sure I was singing material that was honest for me and believable for me, but now that I’m older, I don’t know, I realized that I don’t have to always do that, that it’s okay to be a little bit of an actress sometimes, to stretch out in that way and have some fun with music and do a tune like “Something Cool,” which, yeah, I’ve not lived that.  Of course I haven’t.  Thank goodness I’ve not lived that yet.  I hope I never live that.  But you know what?  I can still interpret the tune and I used to do a lot of theater, it’s still in me, so I enjoy getting on stage and being a little bit of an actress from time to time.


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