The Monika Herzig Acoustic Project’s In Your Own Sweet Voice purports to be A Tribute to Women Composers, however only one-third of the tracks are by composers other than Herzig herself. It’s a minor quibble, but she could have used compositions by women like Mary Lou Williams, Maria Schneider, Joni Mitchell and Rickie Lee Jones, to name just a few. But let’s talk about what we’ve got.
By way of introducing herself and her band, Monika gives us a simple salsa of her own composition called "Spring Fever." Very nice, warm and friendly. She then opens things up with a very interesting rewriting of Laura Nyro’s "And When I Die." The composition may seem an obvious choice, but what Herzig does with it is quite exciting, basing the choruses around a stop-time figure that propels the piece forward.
"Katy’s Melting Song" sounds like it could have come from an ECM recording, with an icy, Nordic kind of feel. There is nice flute work from Tom Clark, and drummer Steve Davis keeps thing light with some fine cymbal figures. Bassist Frank Smith also interests with beautiful contrapuntal lines a la Scott LaFaro.
We’re presented with another nice Latin line, "Once Upon a Summer’s Day," then we hear Monika’s daughter Melody sing "You’ve Got A Friend" - cute - then the band takes over for a very straightforward reading of the Carole King standard.
A swirling rendition of the classic "Lullaby of the Leaves" intros another straightforward reading of a Carly Simon tune, "You’re So Vain," with guitarist Peter Kienle sounding like Wes Montgomery on a latter-day Creed Taylor production. Like "And When I Die," Herzig plays with the harmonies to give the tune its interest.
All in all, Monika Herzig is a good composer with a good band, who has made a good album, but this reviewer could have done with a wider range of composers for her tribute.