Thursday, January 31, 2013

Voice & violin

Singer Jane Monheit and violinist Mark O'Connor are teaming up for a Friday set at Jefferson Center that will combine her jazz/cabaret band's personality with his gypsy jazz standards.

Jane Monheit

Courtesy Vincent Soyez

Jane Monheit

Talk about your intriguing mashups.

Jazz and cabaret singer Jane Monheit and violin virtuoso Mark O’Connor will be bringing a set of tunes to Jefferson Center on Friday that combines O’Connor’s gypsy jazz standards and compositions with the personality of Monheit’s band.

It’s a new extension of a musical partnership in which Monheit and O’Connor have engaged for about a decade.

The music might be missing the hard and hot jazz vibe of the late guitarist Django Reinhardt. For starters, there will be no guitarist on this gig. But the touch could be closer to Monheit’s 2010 album, “Home,” which featured O’Connor on three songs.

Those numbers — the Rodgers and Hart number “Everything I’ve Got Belongs To You,” and two numbers that Duke Ellington co-wrote, “I Didn’t Know About You” and “All Too Soon” — swing with drums and piano.

By contrast, the legendary Quintette du Hot Club de France, featuring Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli (who would become O’Connor’s mentor) got its impetus from a battery of rhythm guitarists but no drummer.

Lineup differences aside, the combination should be fun, Monheit said in a phone call last week.

“It’s really cool, because it blends the personality of our band with Mark’s writing, and we end up with this really great thing that’s really fun,” Monheit said. “We love doing these gigs together. Mark and I really love playing together.

“So it ends up being really cool, but totally different than the hot swing record [“In Full Swing,” from 2003], even though it’s the arrangements … but it’s a really different look at them.”

Backing up Monheit and O’Connor will be pianist Michael Kanan, bassist Neil Miner and drummer Rick Montalbano. Monheit and Montalbano have been married since 2002, after meeting as Manhattan School of Music students in 1997, according to The New York Times. They are both 35, and have a son nearing 5.

“Those guys are my family,” Monheit said of the band. “So they’re always with me. I mean, you can count on that, forever.”

Jane Monheit and Mark O’Connor

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Where: Jefferson Center, Roanoke

How much: $45, $30, $25, $19; half-price to students

Info: 343-2624,,,

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