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  • Jonathan Widran

JANE SCHECKTER, I'll Take Romance

Sometimes part of the joy of checking out the latest beautifully intimate and sweetly swinging album by a celebrated veteran song stylist like Jane Schekter is doing a deep dive into the artist’s history. NYC club mainstay Jane Sheckters’ multi-faceted resume truly demands our attention as we listen intently to her every nuance and inviting turn of phrase on her fifth album I’ll Take Romance.

As she takes us on a sweet, spirited stroll of soft ballads and breezy charmers, oft-covered standards and delightful obscurities, we learn, for instance that long before she was singing full time, she was a celebrated fashion designer who worked the club circuit with Barry Manilow and appeared as a backing vocalist (with Melissa Manchester and others) on the icon’s debut album. She also guested on every important 70s’ music show and toured the world as one third of the big band/disco band Tuxedo Junction.

Still in fine, sultry and emotionally compelling voice, Scheckter, over the course of a generous 17 songs, takes romance from the mature, world wise perspective of having been happily married for 40 years. Vibing intuitively with a trio led by MD, pianist and arranger Tedd Firth, the songs roll gracefully as impressionistic snapshots of the many aspects of love – from the whimsical imaginings of Sondheim’s “Love I Hear” through the magical moment where “A Beautiful Friendship” ends so romantic love can blossom and then soulfully celebrating “Moments Like This.” Yet somehow they collectively create a definitive songbook about love and romance, where “What is There To Say” – a song about dreams coming true – leads even at this stage of life to the hope and wonder of the always glorious and understated “What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life.”

In showcasing her many years of insightful interpretive storytelling, Scheckter is equally cozy mining fresh magic from gems by Cole Porter (“After You”), Peggy Lee (“That Was Then”), the Gershwins (“Isn’t It a Pity,” a dreamy duet with rising star Nicolas King) and Noel Coward (“If Love Were All”) as she is singing her own reflective, heartfelt lyrics (along with those written by NYC songwriter Roger Shore) on “Looking Back,” a vocal interpretation of the late Mickey Leonard’s instrumental “A Song For Bill Evans.”   


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