“The lady has a gutsy voice that can belt out a blues or whisper a love song.”
—William Ruhlmann, The Online Guide To All Music
“Antoinette Montague is a Jazz singer who loves people and thrills audiences with her crystal-clear tone, her range and her emotional intensity.”
—The Portland Observer
“The lady has a gutsy voice that can belt out a blues or whisper a love song.”
ANTOINETTE MONTAGUE/World Peace in the Key of Jazz: If you wonder what Burt Bacharach or Rodgers & Hammerstein have to do with civil rights jazz, go back and listen to Curtis Mayfield's intro to his version of "We've Only Just Begun". Nuff said. The apparently jubilee inspired return to civil rights jazz, which has been bubbling under for a while now, really couldn't be more timely. Just remember NIMBYs, whoever is looking to screw over someone else today will be looking to screw you over tomorrow. Montague gets the message out and across with some Flying Dutchman inspired sounds and a wise choice pairing of songs. If this was a time and place you missed, the way Montague cuts across all lines make this a tent all are welcome in if their eyes are open to the future. 05/02/15
by Woodrow Wilkins/AllAboutJazz.com, February 2, 2010
With every smile is a story. Singer Antoinette Montague explores this concept with Behind the Smile, a collection of 13 songs that represent things that have influenced the smiles in her life.
Journal of the New Jersey Jazz Society, January 2010
One of the joys of reviewing new CDs is putting a disc into my player, and almost immediately saying to myself “this is one that is going to be a fun listening experience and a pleasure to review.” Such was the case with Behind the Smile (In the Grove) by vocalist ANTOINETTE MONTAGUE.
O’s Notes: Antoinette is a storyteller, well suited for singing the blues. Her voice is soft yet powerful. The band behind her includes a wealth of talent with bassist Peter Washington, Kenny Washington (d), Mulgrew Miller (p) and Bill Easley (sax). But the beauty of this recording lies in Antoinette’s jazzy blues arrangements of classic R&B numbers like “What’s Going On” and “Get Ready”. Montague does well with these as well as more classic jazz tunes notably “I’d Rather Have a Memory”. We also enjoyed the title track, the lone original with a strong solo from Easley.
D. Oscar Groomes www.OsPlaceJazz.com
Here is a singer who comes through with stellar delivery and on target intonation, and she has done a bit of homework in her choice of tunes. Among the most interesting selections were “Give Your Mama a Smile,” from the old-time blues singer, Big Bill Broonzy; “Lost in Meditation”; and Dave Brubeck’s sweet opus, “Summer Song.” These and others make up an enjoyable pallet of tunes from Montague who, in another era, would have been a standout ‘band singer.’ George Fendel, Jazz Society of Oregon
at gapplegatemusicreview.blogspot.com. Antoinette Montague has a new album that’s coming out shortly. It’s Behind the Smile (In the Groove). Now I’ve gotten a bit of a dose of “jazz singers” in the recent past, and I find that there are many out there who don’t quite have the talent or instrument to qualify.
Based on her new CD, however, Antoinette Montague doesn’t displease. She is accompanied by a quartet that can play accompaniment and swing out with good soloing, and her choice of repertoire is not cliched. There’s “I Hadn’t Anyone Till You,” OK, but it’s given a kind of New Orleans marching lilt. Then there are the lesser covered numbers, like Brubeck’s “Summer Song,” Big Bill Broonzy’s “Give Your Mama One Smile,” Duke’s “23rd Psalm,” and a soul classic or two, like Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.”
Her voice is drenched with the blues, has nice nuances in pitch, is dead-on for intonation, and has an appealing sound.
I’ve been disappointed by many contemporary singers, but not Antoinette. If you like the genre I think you’ll dig her and the latest CD.
This is one rockin’ jazz vocalist. . . she definitely leads the band (Bill Easley on sax, flute & clarinet; Mulgrew Miller on piano; bass from Peter Washington & drums by Kenny Washington) with her vocals, but they are one unit, no punches pulled & as tight as a slingshot together! I couldn’t find any downloads for this one, probably because it doesn’t hit the streets until February, 2010. . .I’ll drop some links as soon as they’re available (in the HAPPENINGS section). There isn’t any “hesitation” in her vocals. . .strong projection and heartfelt emotion shine right through, especially on tracks like Bill Broonzy’s “Give Your Mama One Smile”. . .blues with intestinal fortitude, if you catch my drift. . .Easley’s clarinet is power personified on this one. . .you’ll think you’re in a speakeasy back in the ’30’s, no doubt. My favorite tune on the album, though, is her rendition of Marvin Gay’s “What s Going On”. . .if just a few people would listen to the message in this song, we could get out of these infernal wars we’ve been in (but ya’ don’t want to get me off into the politics of it all). . .Montague’s talent puts a new sense of urgency on this classic tune, though! This is one of the most vibrant vocal CD’s I’ve heard in a long time, & I give it a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.93.
Dick Metcalf, aka Rotcod Zzaj
By Frank McGarry, The Duke Ellington Society, January 2010
When Antoinette Montague’s band took the stage to warm up the audience and get the annual December concert underway, they picked a seasonally appropriate tune – “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.”
by John E. Brathwaite, Sunday February 8, 2009
A trim, chic, and glamorous Antoinette Montague gave a terrific performance at the PJS Jazz Society’s February Second Sunday Jazz Series last night. She sang everything from the John Lennon’s “Imagine,” to “The Twenty Third Psalm” with lots of solid material in-between.
Accompanying Ms. Montague were Bill Easley the versatile reed man, who played tenor saxophone, clarinet and flute. On piano was Tommy James, a Mount Vernon native who is the musical director of the Ellington Orchestra. Hassan Shakur who started playing professionally at the tender age of thirteen, and now plays for Monty Alexander and the Ellington Orchestra was on bass. Lastly, Vince Ector was on the drum set. He has played with a wide range of jazz performers including the late Freddie Hubbard, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Charles Earland, Grover Washington, Jr. Gloria Lynne, and Shirley Scott. You get the idea.
International Herald Daily News Online, 2006
Be brave and dash into the explosive and magical Jazz-Blues world of Antoinette Montague. This singer is powerful, yet elegantly sensual with human warmth. Montague just released a first rate CD “Pretty Blues”. A superb album at so many levels; from soul-penetrating tenor saxophone by Bill Easley, piano free form virtuosity of an exquisite beauty by Mulgrew Miller, and once again, elegant and captivating flute escapades by Easley enrobed with warm and deep bass by Peter Washington who added an extra touch of musical finesse and sophistication, to the powerful voice of Montague. Blend all these goodies with Montague’s vibrant and sparkling voice, and you get the perfect formula for a 4 star, world class album. The CD has 12 tracks of pure creative originality and depth. Two songs on the CD: “Unless It’s You”, and “From This Moment On” could be considered as some of the finest recordings in a decade. Although, it is Blues, and Blues is the outcry of human drama, Montague’s projection and personal interpretation delivered Blues with enchanting joy and uplifting musicality. Every word is pronounced with truthfulness and radiant energy. Montague’s captivating improvisation is predominant. This woman is the real thing; a fabulous singer with style, depth and captivating energy. “Pretty Blues” is highly recommended. Add it to your collection. Rating: 4 stars out of five. Reviewer: Maximillien de Lafayette, Syndicated Columnist and Entertainment Critic.
Antoinette on the cover of Jazz Improv’s New York Jazz Guide!
Review by Scott Yanow, Los Angeles Jazz Scene
Antoinette Montague has a powerful voice, the ability to hold long notes without wavering, and a knack for making every song sound bluesy. Her mentors were Carrie Smith and the late Etta Jones but she sounds quite original, even when performing beloved warhorses. Joined by pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist Peter Washington, drummer Kenny Washington and Bill Easley on tenor and flute, Ms. Montague finds something fresh to say on “Teach Me Tonight,” “At Last,” “Miss Celie’s Blues” and a medley of “I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water” and “Everyday I Have The Blues.” She also performs a few lesser-known tunes such as Johnny Mandel’s “Unless It’s You” and “Norman Simmons” “Pretty Blue.” Her delivery is heartfelt, infectious and memorable, making Pretty Blues highly recommended and quite enjoyable.
by John Gilbert, ejazznews; 5 Stars
Antoinette Montagne sings the blues and she indeed does sing them pretty. Montague articulates clearly and gets off the ground without any undue historionics. . .
“I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water/Everyday I have the Blues” Montague swings coolly and Bill Easley on tenor romps merrily along with a soulful message. Mulgrew Miller dances across the keyboard in fine accompaniment.
Changing gears on the Mandel/Ames composition “Unless It’s You,” Miss Montague shows her versatility with a beautiful rendition of this lovely ballad.
© 2017 Antoinette Montague