Stacey Kent is undoubtedly one of the most outstanding jazz vocalists of the present generation. The London based New Yorker's newest album from Candid Records is a musical tribute to Richard Rodgers, one of the most celebrated Broadway composers, whose collaborations with Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II produced some of the most romantic songs that populate the great American songbook. Ms. Kent's jazz-inflected stylings transform this exquisitely hewn collection of chestnuts into freshly minted vignettes of love and its corollaries. What distinguishes Ms. Kent from her contemporaries? First, there is her liquid, silver-streaked soprano - clean, clear and precise - with a mellow, mellifluous lower register that stretches all the way to crystalline tones in the upper register. But there's much more than just a beautiful voice: Ms. Kent's incisive musicianship is demonstrated in her elegantly sculpted phrases and impeccable enunciation, complete with her trademark fluttering terminal vibrato. She brings a girlish winsomeness and seeming effortlessness to her delivery. The upbeat numbers on this album exude an infectious buoyancy, while the torchy ballads a have an introspective, intimate and almost conversational feel, as if they are delivered in quiet, reflective moments of solitude. "Shall We Dance?", the passionate polka of unfulfilled romantic passion from "The King and I", has been transformed into a sexy, swinging invocation. Her utterly beguiling rendition of "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" is another highlight of this recording. Ms. Kent has her tongue firmly in her cheek while she plays around with shifting musical tempos in "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair", the clarion call to womanly independence from "South Pacific", and she infuses "This Can't Be Love" with finger-snapping, feet-tapping exuberance and joyful abandon. "Thou Swell" is given a playful, endearing and coy reading that conjures up the image of a wide-eyed ingénue in the throes of requited love. In "Manhattan", Rodgers and Harts affectionate ode to the city that never sleeps, Ms. Kent deftly negotiates the gentle, interloping musical rhythms and urbane, witty lyrics with infinite ease. But she also knows that sometimes love can hurt, and Ms. Kent brings a whole octave of heartbreak and rue to her poignant, wistful rendition of "Easy to Remember"; close your eyes and you can almost imagine her in a smoky jazz club in the wee hours of the morning. Ms. Kent has surrounded herself with a top-notch quintet of sidemen, who provide sensitive, attentive accompaniment to complement her vocal and interpretive skills. Jim Tomlinson's sinuous, sultry tenor sax pas de deux with Ms. Kent's vocals, Colin Oxley's warm, supple guitar solos and David Newton's brilliant piano fills prove that you don't need an orchestra to sound like one. The clean, spare arrangements bring a heightened sense of hushed intimacy to the recording. To put it succinctly, Stacey Kent is simply sublime.
I am a great fan of Stacey Kent and listened to her latest offering with great anticipation. The format is familiar to that of her other albums : Great American Songbook standards in a sophisticated small combo setting. The major soloists are there and would be well known to anyone who has a Stacey Keny C.D. already : Stacey's hubby Jim Tomlinson (sax and flute), the talented David Newton (piano)and Colin Oxley (guitar). All the tracks have a light but expert touch and Stacey's phrasing and interpretation are, as usual, top class. There is however an overall sameness in tempo and format about many of the tracks that was evident in "Dreamsville" as well. This had the effect of not holding my attention for the full span of the record. I had quite the opposite reaction to "Let Yourself Go", for example, which has a much broader mix of interpretations. A couple of more up tempo numbers to give Tomlinson and Newton, in particular, a chance to let rip, would have mixed up the whole package in a more interesting way. I don't regret at all having obtained "In Love Again" virtually on the day it became available, and it would be a good introduction to anyone not familiar with Stacey Kent's work, but it falls a little short of being my favorite representation of her work.
After the superb Dreamsville album last year, Ms. Kent earned more new fans than most would have thought. Everyone I have played that album to has bought their own copy! But this new album is even better. The breadth of sheer musicality is outstanding - from tracks that are great 'foot-tappers' to those which just make you sit back, close your eyes, and listen. Once again, the combination of Ms. Kent's voice, her diction, the choice of songs, and the silky-smooth arrangements leave you wanting to play this album again, and again. I bet you can't listen to it for the first time without hitting the repeat button! HMV Choice magazine highlighted Ms. Kent as a star for 2002 - oh how right they were! And it's still only January!
Another one (Stacey Kent album ) to add to my collection. I've heard Stacey Kent described in various ways most of which include comparisons to people like Billie, Ella and even Norah Jones (?). I think the time has come for Ms Kent to be spoken of in her own right. She does not 'sound' like anyone else. She has a mellow distinctiveness all of her own with incredible vocal control and breathing. How on earth is it possible in this day and age to see a Stacey Kent show, have a few drinks at the bar, get a bag of chips and the bus home, and still have change from £20 ? If I have one complaint (not really relevant to this album) it is that the weakness in her band is her husband's sax playing. It's laboured, obvious and intrusive, and is infected with that curse of the self important players, the distracting triple blow at the end of every phrase. Unfortunately as her husband and musical director, he's going nowhere - so we'll have to put up with it.
Having seen Stacey live at Hever Castle, I bought this CD. I did not expect it to be SO good! Not only is her voice like velvet but the musicians in her group are so accomplished, polished and so talented. It is a wonderful collection of Richard Rogers best. Jim Tomlinson's (Stacey's husband)tenor saxophone compliments her voice so well. This CD is a must.
A selection of Richard Rodgers' songs which varies from the very familiar to the less well known. It is perhaps a pity that the pace of the album is not quite as variable. Huge fan that I am of SK, I've got to say that the album lacks variety in terms of pace. Subsequently it fades a bit into the wallpaper before you get to the end. Each track on its own is beautifully arranged and crafted and the musicianship as usual can't be faulted but you just long for something a bit more up-tempo to maintain your interest from start to finish. Having said that, the high points are highlights indeed and the opening track 'Shall We Dance' is quirky and wonderful. I still commend the album to Amazon customers, it's just that you may find yourself listening to it in short bursts rather than in its entirety at one sitting.
This is a nice, swing oriented album; Stacey Kent is a vocalist of pleasant voice and great precision, although not all the supporting musicians drive her the way many older giants could (Sir Charles Thompson, Jess Stacy, Milt Hinton, George Duvivier... and I'm not even mentioning the best...). Could you even imagine what would Roy Eldridge or Buck Clayton do to uplift the session?
Kent's husband Jim Tomlinson is definitely the best of the supporting crew, at times really passionate in his elegance so, with first-rate material, this is still a very pleasant album.
American-born but British-based Stacey does it again with this mellow but classy collection of songs composed by Richard Rodgers in collaboration with either with Lorenz Hart or Oscar Hammerstein. The songs are a mix of the famous and the obscure. Stacey selected two songs each from South Pacific (I'm gonna wash that man right outta my hair, Bali Ha'i) and A Connecticut Yankee (Thou swell, My heart stood still). Other shows represented here, but just by one song each, are The king and I (Shall we dance), Pal Joey (Bewitched bothered and bewildered), Higher and higher (It never entered my mind), State fair (It might as well be Spring), Jupiter (Nobody's heart belongs to me), The boys from Syracuse (This can't be love), Mississippi (It's easy to remember) and The Garrick Gaities (Manhattan). As a fan of the Great American Songbook, I have heard some of these songs in many different versions, but Stacey always does justice to the songs while interpreting them in her own way. Stacey is one of the biggest names in British jazz and this album clearly shows why. If you enjoy modern recordings of the Great American Songbook, you'll love Stacey's music.
Yet another brilliant albumn fron the loverly Stacey Kent. Having bought other cd's by Stacey and loving them all!!! I find I have fallen in love with her music all over again. She has been compared to Nora Jones in a previous post, yes they sing beautifuly however you should not be confused. Stacey Kent is far superior in every respect and has a depth of expression that is breathtaking. Just buy it. You won't be disapointed. Promise