Jane Monheit connects with the Purple Room Palm Springs audience during an Oasis Music Festival event.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY NICOLE JARAMILLO
Purple looks good on Jane Monheit. The jazz vocalist returned to the The Purple Room Supper Club in Palm Springs on May 13 as part of the Oasis Music Festival, singing selections from her 2016 album The Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald, a record honoring one of Monheit’s earliest and most beloved influences.
Opened in 1960 and located within the Club Trinidad Resort, The Purple Room once served as a playground for Rat Pack legends Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin. Now owned by Michael Holmes, the venue serves sumptuous surf-and-turf eats and classic cocktails and hosts celebrated jazz entertainers.
Monheit holds fond memories of her previous appearances at the venue. “I love this room so much,” she says. “I love Palm Springs. I want to live here someday.”
The room loved her right back. Audience members cheered, laughed, and sighed as Monheit sang from the Great American Songbook and shared the stories behind each tune.
Monheit’s set list included number of Irving Berlin-penned tracks, including the 1953 love song “I Used to Be Color Blind.”
Monheit’s grandfather shaped her taste for the greats and often suggested songs for her to record. After he died six years ago, Monheit told Purple Room showgoers, “I went to [his] house that morning to be with my grandmother and found that [my grandfather] had left for me lyrics, printed out, to this tune.”
Backed by Josh Nelson on piano, Karl McComas Reichl on bass, and Monheit’s husband of 20 years, Rick Montalbano Jr., on drums, Monheit brought fresh life to classics like Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale” with surprising musical arrangements.
And if the tune’s sorrowful beauty brought a tear to attendees’ eyes, they weren’t alone: Monheit herself ended the song a bit choked up. “But the lash glue is in good shape,” she assured the audience, laughing. “We’re holding [on].”
• • •
Jane Monheit returns to The Purple Room tonight (May 14). Other Oasis Music Festival must-sees include Beau MacDougall & the New Mix at the Row House and Voice alum Cedrice at the Margaritaville Resort.
The historic Plaza Theatre hosts a packed lineup of performances beginning at 12:30 p.m. Catch sets by Derek Jordan Gregg, Blasting Echo, Courtney Chambers, the Shadow Mountain Band, Giselle Woo & the Night Owls, and The White Buffalo. Tickets: oasismusicfestival.com.
• READ NEXT: The Milk Carton Kids Charm Oasis Music Festival Audience.