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You Are There

Shawnn Monteiro

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 regular working 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.

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No matter how long one listens to the releases that come in the mail for review, it seems like one comes along by an accomplished artist who has been on the scene for quite some time and has somehow escaped the attention of the listener. For me, vocalist SHAWNN MONTEIRO is such a talent. Upon listening to her new album, You Are There (Whaling City Sound – 128), it was apparent that this is a lady who is a first-rate jazz vocalist. The album was recorded at sessions spread over six and one-half years. In September 2014, Monteiro was joined by pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Nat Reeves and drummer Joe Farnsworth for seven tunes, with trumpeters John Allmark and Josh Bruneau, and trombonist Steve Davis adding occasional contributions. The remaining five tracks found her in the company of pianist Mike Renzi, bassist Dave Zinno and drummer Steve Langone, some recorded in July 2019 and others in March 2021. The one constant is the engaging vocalizing of Monteiro. Whether caressing a ballad like “Inside a Silent Tear” or “You Are There;” taking “Dearly Beloved” or a medley of “I Hear Music” and “How High then Moon” for a rhythmic ride; lending a bluesy tinge to “You’ll See” or gently swinging “The Shadow of Your Smile,” Monteiro is right on target. All in all, Monteiro has produced a winner! (www.whalingcitysound.com)” - Joe Lang, Jersey Jazz
You Are There is an enjoyable and easily recommended set full of first-class singing that features Shawnn Monteiro in top form. ” - Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian