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Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2005 | INDIE | AFM

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 2005
Band Jazz Electro




"CD PICK OF THE WEEK: JAZZ Janelle Monique: You Go To My Head"

Janelle Monique: You Go To My Head

Jan 13, 2009 04:30 AM
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(3 ½ out of 4)

The sedate piano intro to that ol' retread "Misty" augured a ho-hum solo debut from this Toronto native, but the tune turned on a percussive flourish launching her stylish, unexpected phrasing and the Latin-inflected accompaniment that defines this jazz-R&B covers disc.

I'm not wild about some of those cringe-high notes on the opening tune, but the 30-year-old Humber College grad, who you may know from local bands such as Babes in Jazzland, Plan C and Methodology, is imbued with a sensuous, distinct sound that caresses in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

The music is eclectic and captivating – festive arrangement of Kansas's "Dust in the Wind," Latin-techno take on Sting's "Fragile" and a soulful "Besame Mucho" – thanks to deft use of musicians, backup vocals and programmed sounds by co-producer Oliver Miguel, though his own tenor sax playing is not as compelling as the amount of soloing he's afforded himself. Much tastier bits from guitarist Mark Pellizzer (on acoustic and electric) and trumpeter Nick "Brownman" Ali. Check out Monique at the Lula Lounge celebration (Thursday, 8:30 p.m., $10) of this album, which was quietly released last year.

Top Track: Bolstered by impressive, big band-style horns, her clean, clear pipes do the title track justice. -

"You Go To My Head album review"

Janelle Monique
You Go to My Head
By Jonathan Rothman
May 2008

The smooth vocal presence behind Toronto dance floor Latin jazz and groove acts Plan C and Methodology (and formerly of disco funk soul freaks King Sunshine), Janelle Monique (and her pipes) deserve a chance to sail under her own steam. So why did she make her solo debut a record comprised of covers? Monique does do her jazz diva thing well, however, and this is a confident, honey-voiced solo effort in sultry Spanish, Portuguese and English tones, no less. A powerfully arranged rendition of Thelonius Monk’s “’Round Midnight” earns top points here and Kansas’s “Dust in the Wind” (seriously) gets a curious touch of jazz funk-lite. Several of the stronger tracks include saxophonist/composer Oliver Miguel, Monique’s main collaborator on the project. Samba/Latin jazz standards — classics like Jobim’s “Garota de Ipanema,” “Besame Mucho” and “A Felicidade,” a chestnut from the ’50s Black Orpheus soundtrack — stay listenable with Monique’s peppy, soulful delivery. (ZaFéMuzik) - Exclaim

"You Go To My Head album review"

CD Reviews: JazzTrenzz’s Clef Notes
Posted by: editoron Tuesday, June 10, 2008 - 05:22 PM
Karl Stober

You Go to My Head – Janelle Monique (Zafe’Musik 2008)

Complex as it may be to exhume logic from the decision to spin classics when the creative mind of this young composer lays dormant, the fact is, Janelle Monique’s debut jewel-box works! Vocalist Janelle Monique’s You Go to My Head penetrates the world of the “diabolically seductive” vocalists of today’s jazz.

The course Ms. Monique takes in breaking bread with these standards is a fine lesson plan for any vocal ladder-climber. She takes each spin to task, injecting the Latin appeal with a soulful heart. Crisp tones, rigorous improvisation and daring non-conformist arrangements make this an adventure.

Note the work of producer Oliver Miguel who with his vocal siren, mixes and manipulates some of “today’s sounds” best spins. Case in point, Sting’s “Fragile” for the template of design, is recreated with respect and a fine Latin-esque burn.

The attitude of the project can best be identified by the calculated grooves of “Round Midnight” and the brass attack of Nick Ali. Although perceived as a showcase duet, for MS. Monique and Jessie Roy, the true star, with no disrespect, is the arrangement!

You Go to My Head with all its rhythmic sparkle… is iPod bound! - eJazzNews

"Jazz grad slated to sing at CMW"

More than 400 bands play Toronto clubs this weekend
Jessica Brooks
Published: March 11, 2009

Jazz graduate Janelle Monique will perform with flamenco jazz band The Café Ole this Saturday night as part of Canadian Music Week (CMW).

“This is a good chance to get your name out there,” Monique said. “For independent artists, it is so hard to get enough promotion.”

Since graduation, Monique has performed on cruise ships and worked as a lounge singer in Hong Kong.
She’s also performed at the 2005 CMW with Casey Roberts and the Raw Blue band.

“This festival is great because everybody club hops and discovers bands that they might not have otherwise seen,” she said.

CMW communications director Bessie Bullard said the 27-year-old festival keeps getting better.

“We have people from Montreal, Ottawa, New York and Buffalo buying tickets. It is a really good chance to see music, whether international or local, that you wouldn’t have otherwise seen,” she said.

While big acts like Bloc Party and Sloan are headlining this year, the event is about more than the music.

Ky Joseph, who sits on the board of Humber’s advisory council for media studies, said CMW is an incredible opportunity to make connections in all elements of the industry.

It also offers people in all aspects of the broadcasting business the opportunity to network at daytime seminars, award shows, and the Women in Broadcasting Trailblazing Breakfast.

The mood last year was crazy, said Joseph, whose colleagues at Evanov Communications Inc. refer to her as ‘the velvet hammer.’ She received last year’s Rosalie Tromblay Award at the 2008 Trailblazing Breakfast.

“A lot of women came to the networking breakfast,” she said. “The event is absolutely changing broadcast’s landscape.”

The festival begins today and runs until Sunday in 45 downtown venues.

Wristbands and tickets to individual shows and daytime events can be purchased online at - Humber Et Cetera

"Janelle Monique You Go to My Head CD Release"

April 2, 2009 • Lula Lounge • Toronto
Report by Joyce Corbett with photo by Roger Humbert

Happily, Janelle Monique’s CD release party Part Two ran from start to surprise finale without a hitch. The originally scheduled release (or Part One) was halted before it got off the ground. Halfway through the first song, “La Garota de Ipanema”, the lights went out. Janelle addressed the audience with a megaphone and, performer that she is, made a valiant attempt to continue the show, strolling around the candlelit room singing with vocalist Kamil André, pianist Sean Bellaviti and guitarist Jacek Karlowski. But, the power did not come back on and the club was forced to close for the night. In some pockets of the city the electricity would be off for twenty-four hours.

Max Senitt y sus Amigos opened the release Part Two as they had the first with a set of instrumentals. Sean Bellaviti on piano and Juan Carlos Medrano on congas joined the band for Janelle who arrived on stage with her megaphone. “I hope I don’t have to use it tonight”, she said. This time around, she sang “La Garota de Ipanema” from the stage, all the way through.
Janelle Monique’s first CD, You Go to My Head, was quietly released over a year ago, though never really “launched”. Stand-outs on this evening from the CD were her samba-based version of “Dust in the Wind”, one of the best versions of that song I have ever heard, and her sensitive rendition of Sting’s “How Fragile We Are”.

Overall though, it was her new material that really stood out for me, Janelle Monique originals such as “Sorti Sorti”, and “A Nou Alé” in Creole; “Tiempo Simple” and “Sin Hielo” in Spanish. Janelle Monique told us that her mother, grandmother and aunt helped her with “A Nou Alé”. It featured some beautiful harmonies with three back-up vocalists, Kamil André, Maya Chilton and Joni NehRita. “Sin Hielo” was a strong Latin jazz piece she wrote the day she returned from the Havana Jazz Festival where she performed this year.

The petite Janelle Monique danced, smiled, sang and scatted her way through a wide range of rhythms, languages and moods with seemingly boundless energy and ease. Her brother Kamil André also impressed with his great scatting on "Don't Ask Me (I'm Only Here For A Good Time)", trading riffs with saxophonist Mike Wark. “Wrong Turn” was a fun song that, in addition to showing off Janelle’s crystal clean voice to full advantage, incorporated some beautiful harmonizing with Kamil.

At the end of the evening, after Janelle had left the stage and we thought the show was over, Caribana arrived in the form of costumed dancers, including Janelle Monique herself!

The musicians
Vocalist: Janelle Monique
Max Senitt Y Sus Amigos
Max Senitt (drums), Jacek Karlowski (guitar), Dustin Shaskin (bass), Mike Wark (sax).
Also featuring
Sean Bellaviti (keyboard), Juan Carlos Medrano (percussion)
Kamil André (voice), Maya Chilton (voice), Joni NehRita (voice) - The Live Music Report

"You Go To My Head album review"

When one decides to tackle the enormous task of a “standards” project, two choices usually arise. Does the artist try to maintain the style of the original or make the tune their own without tarnishing it?"Janelle Monique has stepped out into this risky terrain by doing the latter. Her debut CD You Go To My Head essentially showcases standards from different genres including pop, Latin, jazz and soul. In turn, the proof of the pudding lies in the arrangements where Monique and fellow Plan C member Oliver Miguel stay away from keeping things “safe”.
Entering exhibit “A”; the rendition of “Misty” and the following song “Dust in the Wind” start things off with an up tempo fiesta atmosphere. Janelle’s mellow interpretation of “Fragile” by Sting maintains his style to a degree, but adds a slight Latin twist and synths by Kibwe Thomas. By the time the Burt Bacharach-penned “Don’t Make Me Over” comes on, we begin to see Monique display a more bluesy style while respectfully not trying to pipe it out like the Dionne Warwick version. “For the Love of You” updates the Isley Brothers classic with a soulful, modern and aggressive groove, while Kamil Andre’s background vocals enhance Monique’s voice not only on this song but throughout this release. Nothing is held back for constantly covered “Besame Mucho” which is by far the smoothest song, evoking beach side and warm weather imagery. Like most cover albums it was too hard for her to resist doing anything by Brazilian bossa nova legend Antonio Carlos Jobim as evident in “Garota de Ipanema” and “A Felicidade”. Nick “Brownman” Ali makes a guest appearance on Thelonius Monk’s “Round Midnight” infusing a different feel to her vocals and instrumental sounds. The constant and glue of this project, along with Monique is Miguel who, as well as co-arranging, co-produced the CD and played many solos. Guitarist Mark Pellizer also deserves an honorable mention.

If one is expecting to hear a typical jazz standard/cover album, be prepared to experience different interpretations. Based on this project it will be interesting to see what Janelle Monique will try to do next.

by R.C. — April 2008 - The Live Music Report

"You Go To My Head album review"

Janelle Monique’s offering “You Go to My Head” takes a completely different approach. Monique and producer Oliver Miguel draw heavily on standards - and some, like Misty, even tip over into the chestnut category - but the use of 80’s pop/funk/salsa instrumentation render them exhilaratingly difficult to recognize. There are also a handful of pop tunes, like Dust in the Wind and Sting’s Fragile, on which Max Senitt and Richardo Lewis on drums, Kibwe Thomas on keyboards and Oliver Miguel on sax, guitars, and programming turn in some beautiful playing. Add to that a few bossa nova standards and it all adds up to a quirky pop/funk/Latin/soul/swing stew. Monique’s singing style is rooted in R&B and Latin American soil, so, for me, the vocals on the songs that are not swing standards work much better. Some, like A Felicidade, are a perfect fit.

Cathy Riches

Sept 2008 - Whole Note Discoveries

"You Go To My Head album review"

Janelle Monique
You Go To My Head
Zafe Musik

Janelle Monique is a jazz chanteuse who selects a few choice songs for her debut. She has a skillful band to follow her cool vocals.

Kansas' "Dust In The Wind" gets a funky and irresistible reading, Monique's vocal tenderly getting to the heart of the song. Oliver Miguel's soprano sax adds a spine-tingling moment. The title song is rendered in a big band way with a sophisticated vocal. "For The Love Of You" is slow, languid and shimmering with sensuality. Monique's supple vocals lend themselves well to this song.

"Round Midnight" gets a neat reading, with a sublime opening. This debut promises much for the future.

Copyright © 2008 Anna Maria Stjärnell - Luna Kafé


Give It To Me (single) [August 14, 2015]

You Go To My Head (full length album) [July 2008]



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