|Jane MonheitIt?s hard to believe that a scant seven years have passed since a 22-year-old Long Islander named Jane Monheit - now renowned as one of the worlds most beloved and accomplished song stylists - signed her first recording contract, for Manhattan?s relatively small but enthusiastically supportive N-Coded label.Her debut album, Never Never Land, introduced the world to two indisputable facts. First, as the cover portrait demonstrated, Monheit is a stunning, raven-haired beauty. Second, as the ten standards that filled the impressive disc made immediately obvious, Monheit, with her crystalline voice and buttery phrasing, was (and remains) impossible to pigeonhole, simultaneously suggesting the smarts of a seasoned jazz artist and the cunning storytelling skills of the finest cabaret performers.Since then, two of her recordings have received Grammy nominations, she has known the sweet satisfaction of chart-topping success (several of her discs have debuted at number one), done her festive duty with a stunning Christmas album (The Season), and found herself moving to Sony for her two most recent albums, 2004?s Taking a Chance on Love and the subsequent yuletide disc.Now, for Surrender, her seventh album in as many years, Monheit has opted to follow such estimable vocal predecessors as Rosemary Clooney, Mel Torme, Ray Charles, Curtis Stigers and Karrin Allyson into the artist-friendly fold of the Concord Music family.For Monheit, Surrender also marks an artistic ?coming home? of sorts, since the evocatively intimate title track was penned by masterful composer, arranger and vocalist Peter Eldridge (of New York Voices and Four Brothers fame), Jane?s first and only vocal coach, with whom she studied at the Manhattan School of Music while still in her teens.Surrender finds Jane in the welcome and familiar company of regular bandmates Michael Kanan (piano and Fender Rhodes), Miles Okazaki (acoustic and electric guitars), bassist Orlando Le Fleming, saxophonist Ari Ambrose and drummer Rick Montalbano (whose connection to Monheit runs deeper than any of her other accompanists - last Spring, they celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary), and the move toward more contemporary material was, she says, ?very intentional. It is where I had naturally been leaning in my own life, and when it?s time to make a record you?ve got to go in and do what?s really feeling right.?