Jane Monheit's sophomore outing follows in the same accessible mold as her debut, Never Never Land. The young, fairly green vocalist is joined again by all-star musicians, including renowned pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Greg Hutchinson, with Michael Brecker and Tom Harrell making a handful of guest appearances each. Closing the album on a surprising note, African phenom Richard Bona joins for an intimate duo rendition of Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You," playing acoustic guitar accompaniment and overdubbing fretless bass filigree behind Monheit's vocal. Monheit's exquisite voice is becoming more seasoned and expressive, particularly on sassier numbers like "Hit the Road to Dreamland" and "I'm Through with Love." She also wraps her seductive charm around Jobim's swaying free-association poem "Waters of March" and takes on two of jazz's grand ballads, Billy Strayhorn's "Something to Live For" and Fran Landesman's "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most." The latter, a duet with Kenny Barron, prompts one to compare and contrast Chaka Khan's rendition with Chick Corea on 1982's Echoes of an Era. "Blame It on My Youth," "I'll Be Seeing You," and "Over the Rainbow" are pleasant but less remarkable.
Norah Jones' debut on Blue Note is a mellow, acoustic pop affair with soul and country overtones, immaculately produced by the great Arif Mardin. (It's pretty much an open secret that the 22-year-old vocalist and pianist is the daughter of Ravi Shankar.) Jones is not quite a jazz singer, but she is joined by some highly regarded jazz talent: guitarists Adam Levy, Adam Rogers, Tony Scherr, Bill Frisell, and Kevin Breit; drummers Brian Blade, Dan Rieser, and Kenny Wollesen; organist Sam Yahel; accordionist Rob Burger; and violinist Jenny Scheinman. Her regular guitarist and bassist, Jesse Harris and Lee Alexander, respectively, play on every track and also serve as the chief songwriters. Both have a gift for melody, simple yet elegant progressions, and evocative lyrics.
The Faces were unanthologized on CD prior to 1999, but ever since Rhino's corking single-disc Good Boys…When They're Asleep…, the group has seen a number of different compilations of different sizes, of which Rhino U.K.'s 2012 set Stay with Me: Anthology is the fifth. At two discs, this has 2007's The Definitive Rock Collection as its closest cousin: they're both double discs that cover a tremendous amount of ground, but Stay with Me has a slight edge, weighing in at 36 tracks compared to Definitive's 30. Of those 30 tracks, 27 cuts are present and accounted for on Stay with Me – the missing numbers are "Open to Ideas," "Jodie," and "(I Know) I'm Losing You," the latter two cuts from solo Rod Stewart albums where he was backed by the Faces – and those other nine songs include some of the Faces' very best, including the roaring rocker "That's All You Need," Ronnie Lane's sweet, plaintive "Richmond," and the gloriously shambolic "On the Beach." Serious fans should pony up for 2004's Five Guys Walk into a Bar…, which is one of the great rock & roll box sets, but this double-disc set is like that box in miniature, containing the essence of the Faces in all their messy glory.