Megon McDonough,
My One and Only Love
(Shanachie, 1996)

Drawing on a life-long love of jazz music, Megon McDonough creates an album full of jazz favorites with My One and Only Love. While most fans will know her from her previous recordings as a folksinger -- both solo and as a member of Four Bitchin' Babes -- this album marks a labor of love for McDonough, which comes through in every note.

McDonough's collection includes such well-known standards as George and Ira Gershwin's "Embraceable You" and Stephen Sondheim's "I Remember." McDonough's crystalline voice flutters and soars on these songs, whether it's the playful "When I Take My Sugar to Tea" to the introspective "You Taught My Heart to Sing."

Along with a variation of jazz and torch songs, the album also includes four instrumental tracks: "Piano Improv," "Bass Improv," "Horn Improv" and "Drum Improv." These four tracks provide short transitional pieces between songs and allow the excellent musicians gathered here a chance to take the spotlight for a moment, which is what you would expect if you were seeing a show like this live. The jazz musicians assembled on this album definitely deserve a mention, as their work provides an intuitive backing for McDonough's vocals. My One and Only Love features Joe Dunlop and Stefan Scaggari on piano, Jim Rupp and Sam Hoof on drums, Roger Heinz and Jim Cox on bass, Jim Powell on trumpet, Don Beck on guitar, and Barney Rooker on flute, sax and clarinet.

In the liner notes, McDonough jokes that her friend Christine Lavin calls this "make-out music." All joking aside, the label is accurate. These are love songs, in every sense of the word. McDonough's stellar vocal stylings and the tight musical arrangements create a romantic mood just perfect for a special evening.

[ by Audrey M. Clark ]
Rambles: 14 July 2001

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