This is the newest 2008 release from versatile and gifted vocalist Monique Danielle. It was 2 years in the making and well worth the wait. It is positively the jewel in her recording crown, and features the best jazz musicians in KC. If you're going to buy only one of Moniques CDs, make it "Smile". You won't be disappointed.
NEW JAZZ VOCALIST PROMISES TO LEAVE YOU WITH A “SMILE”
Monique Danielle releases her much anticipated Jazz CD, entitled “SMILE”
This CD of Jazz Standards is Monique’s debut in this genre.
Listeners will delight in such Standards as; “The Look of Love”, a sultry take on this Bacharach classic, “What a Difference a Day Makes” which will take you back to the era of Big Band sound, “Smile”, one of Charlie Chaplin’s most beloved songs, is delivered in Monique’s signature smooth, pure vocal style. “Insensatez” (How Insensitive), will take you on a romantic musical journey, filled with the delicate sounds of Acoustic Guitar, Flute and Piano. The CD also contains favorites such as; Taking a Chance On Love”, “Summertime”, “You Do Something to Me”, “At Last”, “This Can’t Be Love”, “That’s All”, “It Could Happen to You”, “Nature Boy”, and “Angel Eyes”.
The album closes with a beautiful piano/vocal arrangement of Thad Jones’ “A Child is Born”.
A recent review of the song "Smile"at www.Jazz.com
had this to say.
At jazz.com, we review individual cuts in order to bring a more in-depth insight into the jazz canon we so admire. I don't know how other reviewers at jazz.com do their thing. But often while I am writing a review, the CD continues to play the remaining songs. My ear memory recalls the subject piece so I have no trouble typing away my strong opinions as different music plays away in the background. But sometimes the remaining music is so compelling that my unbreakable stream of thought is broken and I must stop the task at hand to listen more fully. This is good for my musical enjoyment but not so good for my wallet. I get paid by the word. The more words I can write in the least amount of time, the better. So you know by now I had to stop writing this review and concentrate on what else Ms. Monique was offering. Damn. Though I am reviewing only one cut, I want you to know that I absolutely loved the whole album.
"Smile" isn't even my favorite number. "The Look of Love" is. It is wonderfully arranged and creatively performed in sort of a Spanish mode. But I can't call that piece jazz. "Smile," like many other tunes on the album, would fall under the same jazz category we allow Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Dinah Washington, et al. Everyone is familiar with this standard. So the best thing for me to say is that Monique Danielle has been blessed with a wonderful voice and the intuitive skills and taste to put that voice to its best use. There is not a hint of pretense in her interpretation. Music is about honesty after all. Surrounding herself with very good musicians and having the benefit of superlative arrangements doesn't hurt either. I unhesitatingly sing the praises of Monique Danielle and recommend that you listen to her immediately.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky
Carol Comer of KC Jazz Ambassador Magazine (JAM)
Had these glowing words for "Smile"
"The first thing I noticed about Monique Danielle is her dead-on intonation; you could tune any instrument to this voice. Clearly one of the best singers I've yet to hear.
.........a rhapsodically simplistic “Insensatez (How Insensitive)” demonstrating once again that gratuitous vocal gymnastics are always trumped by impeccable taste. This is a balladeer who instinctively lives in the song.
.......the arrangements will knock you out and the accompaniment on each cut is
truly flawless. Buy the disc and witness for yourself.
“The Look of Love” as a Tango? Her dark, sensual conformation will surely raise an eyebrow or two. Another surprise: a 6/8 “That’s All.” I played this again and again, mesmerized by the smooth, flawless intervals. YIKES!!!! This woman lives and works right here in Kansas City. We are indeed blessed.
It takes chops to hold your own with guitar, bass, and (drum) brushes
but – no surprise – Monique has ‘em and shows ‘em off with “It Could Happen to You.” The ever-so-gentle “A Child is Born” is so soft and delicate you’ll not want to move...breathe....do anything to interrupt the ambiance.
No apologies for the hyperbole – this is a GREAT CD.
Reviewer: (Carol Comer)
JazzTime: Smile along with Monique Danielle & KC’s best
I may be as much as a year late getting around to the tasty CD “Smile” by local chanteuse Monique Danielle, but it still brought that eponymous expression to my face. Ms. Danielle and a collection of KC’s best sidemen (and women) wrap their lovin arms around some great standards on this locally-produced recording. Find it at your favorite Barnes & Noble or check it out at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/moniqued5.
Monique brings some great vibes to her performances here– sometimes sweet, sometimes sassy, sometimes even smokey, as she kindles a torch song with the best of em. Things get off to a pleasant start with the title track, featuring some lovely instrumental trade-offs by guitar hero (the real kind) Danny Embrey and Stan Kessler on that oh-so-mellow fluegelhorn of his. Sub Rod Fleeman for Danny and add a bouncy bottom courtesy of Bob Bowman and you’ve got track two, Monique’s take on the Vernon Duke standard “Taking a Chance on Love.”
I liked the big band charts on “What A Difference a Day Makes”– nice job by Adam Theis on those arrangements. And Ms. Danielle’s smokin’ “Summertime” gets nice support from Rita Thies on flute, with Steve Rigazzi, Roger Wilder and Rod Lincoln laying the groundwork on bass, piano and drums, respectively (Roger plays alot of keyboard on this fine album).
Monique stretches her chops with some Portugese lyrics on “Insensatez”– I don’t think Karrin Allyson has anything to worry about here, but it’s nice to see Ms Danielle playing the field. She keeps that Latin feeling going– and makes a damn fine recording, in the process– on the Bacharach-David hit “The Look of Love.” This may be one of my favorite arrangements of that tune. The album’s ever-present “Dan S” makes this one happen, adding some tasty flamenco guitar to the smoldering stew he’s arranged of the tune.
The hits just keep on coming. Monique really fires up the great Harry Warren saloon song “At Last” in a nice R Wilder arrangement. I prefer the swinging arrangement of “Nature Boy” to Monique’s ballad approach (you know, I’ve heard so many versions of this great song that I’m not sure what the tempo’s supposed to be in the first place). Stan K does a nice job arranging and soloing on “Angel Eyes.” And the whole thing winds up sweetly with just Roger and Monique on “A Child is Born”– a paean, perhaps, to Ms Danielle’s daughter, Maya Simone, to whom the album is dedicated.
You can catch Monique at Jardine’s Octoer 9. Here’s hoping that, with this release, Ms Danielle has indeed arrived to take her place alongside Ida, Angela, Megan, Nedra Dixon and those Wild Women who keep the distaff side of KC’s jazz scene humming.
“Monique is poised to become Kansas City’s hottest female vocalist. Crossing the genres of numerous African influences, Reggae, R&B and soul, it appears Monique can do it all!”
--Roger Naber (Grand Emporium)
“She demonstrates diversity all over this record. The production is clean, and the accompaniment is solid throughout the many mood changes. The element that never changes though, is Danielle’s rich, sinewy voice, which draws constant attention but never cries for it.”
--Kansas City Star (Timothy Finn)RE:the CD "Resolution"
The Kansas City musicians featured on “Smile” are;
Roger Wilder (Piano),
Danny Embrey and Rod Fleeman (Guitar)
Bob Bowman, James Albright and Steve Rigazzi (Bass)
Rod Lincoln and Tim Cambron (Drums)
Stanton Kessler (Trumpet and Flugelhorn)
Mark Cohick (Bari Sax)
The Bay Area musicians are;
Dan S. (Producer, Drums, Vibes, Acoustic Guitar and Piano)
Rita Thies (Alto, Tenor and Bari Saxes) (Alto and Bass Flute) (Percussion)
Adam Theis (Trombone)
John Thies (Acoustic Guitar)
Dan Feiszly (Bass)
Dave MacNab (Electric Guitar)
Mike Olmos (Trumpets and Flugelhorn)
Recorded at Markosa Studios, Roeland Park KS
and Shea Productions, San Rafael CA