Sometimes you just have to wait until the timing is right. Paula Cole started her career, not as the singer-songwriter she became well known as, but as a jazz singer decades ago. Her style evolved over the years, and she won acclaim for her hit song “I Don't Want to Wait” in 1997. At age 50, Cole has returned to her first love with her new album, “Ballads,” a collection of 20 jazz covers from the 1930s-1960s. It’s an album she had to wait for — for the right group of musicians to come together, and the right time for the album to be born, which was something she says “has been on my bucket list for years." Jane Monheit also found jazz at a young age. She grew up with the music from the Great American Songbook, which is not an actual book or list of songs, but a loosely defined set of the most popular and enduring songs from the 1920s to the 1950s created for Broadway and film. Standards by George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin are among them, and they're Monheit's forte. Today, the timing was right for their paths to cross. The Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center is presenting Grammy Award winner Cole and two-time Grammy-nominated Monheit at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25. This will be the first time Monheit and Cole will share a stage, but it won't be the last. They have dates coming up in October as well, and to pair them on stage together seems like a natural fit, a blending of two different but complementary styles of jazz. “To me jazz is really freedom," Cole said by phone recently. “I’ve had lots of different styles woven through my music and always struggled to describe it. I suppose this album is more roots than anything, with jazz threads and Americana threads.” Monheit’s tour isn’t in support of a new album, she said, “but in jazz you never stop touring.” “It’s not like in pop music where you have a new album out and tour to support the album and take a break and work on the next,” Monheit said by phone. “In jazz, you just continually go out and play shows. It’s a real source of pride for me to be one of the people who keeps the songbook alive and respect the tradition.” They both sing covers but their individual stamp is all over the songs they choose, showcasing personal range and variety in the genre. A great example is the first single from Cole’s new album, a cover of Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child.” A very different take on the popular song, it captures the listener's attention with its originality immediately and is fun to listen to. "I’ve been singing ‘God Bless the Child’ for decades," Cole said. "To me that track really represents the tone of the whole album. “I think Jane is coming from more of a traditional jazz background,” Cole said. “I’ve been coming from the land of singer-songwriter, more art rock, combining many influences. But to me the live show is the real merit test. I’m really proud of my live show and I know Jane’s a fantastic singer so it’s going to be a beautiful night."   Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center The Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center presents Paula Cole and Jane Monheit at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, at 122 Hourglass Drive in Stowe. Tickets are $40-$50; call 802-760-4634, or go online to www.sprucepeakarts.org.

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