"If there is one theme that runs through Stacey's music, it is that of romance. Stacey herself an avowed romantic and the songs she sings are timeless stories that touch young and old alike, fulfilling a desire for sophisticated love songs that is not catered to by today's music industry... With an appeal that transcends category, it is clear that Stacey's voice sells itself. To hear her is to love her." ~ Liner Notes ~
Together with her fabulous band, Stacey Kent, a world-class jazz singer who has made a big wave in the jazz scene since the release of her first album, Close Your Eyes, brings a whole new approach to a dozen of standards in this Limited Edition CD, "Collection" making them sparkle all throughout. Her voice provides brilliance to the flawless instrumentation of her husband, saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, who does an almost Stan Getz-esque performances on all the tracks. The splendid musicianship is simply the result of a great teamwork from husband-and-wife/musical partners Kent and Tomlinson, David Newton and John Pearce (piano), Colin Oxley (guitar), Andy Cleyndert, Simon Thorpe and Dave Green (bass), Steve Brown and Jeff Hamilton (drums).
As an opener, Kent swings elegantly in "Comes Love," an engaging number that she tackles with ease and buoyancy making it a top favorite from this awesome collection. She continues her swingin' mood as she sings Johnny Mercer and Rube Bloom's "Day In Day Out" and two of Cole Porter staples, "In The Still of the Night" and "It's Delovely."
I love the way she treats "They Can't Take That Away From Me" with a much calculated but very charming reading of its lyrics, which include the seldom-heard verse that she renders in the midst the song instead of the usual intro. This Gershwin song is presented here enchantingly with emphasis on its beautiful guitar work by Colin Oxley - this would have made the famous brothers beam with pride. And any fan of Irving Berlin music will surely notice that Ira Gershwin had made reference to a line of one of Berlin's remarkable songs, "The Song Is Ended (But The Melody Lingers On").
Kent also adds an elegant accent to this rare collection with a previously unreleased track, Duke Ellington and Carl Sigman's "All Too Soon," which highlights the sweepingly beautiful sax solo of Tomlinson, one of my favorite saxophonists of all-time. Irving Berlin's "Isn't This A Lovely Day?" is also a delightful listen and so with Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie's "You Go To My Head" where her vocal artistry is more striking with a sole piano accompaniment by David Newton. Another stunner is "East of the Sun (And West of the Moon") with its breathtaking Bossa Nova arrangement.
What makes this CD so special and very highly recommended? It is a rare compilation of the best of the best from all her recordings prior to this 2002 Limited Edition Gold Disc by Candid Productions in London, England. It has a strong material, impeccable interpretations and splendid musicianship. In short, sheer beauty and perfection.
P.S. For more delightful listens, please check these out: Close Your Eyes, In Love Again - The Music of Richard Rodgers, Love Is...The Tender Trap, Dreamsville, The Boy Next Door, Let Yourself Go: Celebrating Fred Astaire and her very latest CD as well, Breakfast on the Morning Tram.
* * * * * TEN STARS * * * * *