on 27 August 2000
First heard this lady (with her husband, Jim Tomlinson on tenor sax) at this year's Birmingham Jazz Festival and was just taken aback by her voice and repertoire (on this occasion many were taken from this album). She is somewhere around Blossom Dearie and Billie Holliday but with all her own style, exquisite phrasing and personality - she obviously just loves singing the songs and puts over the lyric with real affection! Jim Tomlinson has echoes of Stan Getz and his solos complimented her superbly as they do on this CD and the rest of the group are just excellent. What a find - have just kept playing this CD over and over - if you love classic songs, sung with wit and feeling and accompanied by superb musicians then try this - I bet you go looking for everything else she's done - I know that I have!
on 9 February 2001
Stacey Kent, together with her jazz ensemble are the best thing I have heard for some years. Her choice of songs show exquisite taste and by adding the verse as often as possible, she tells a beautiful story every time. Her delivery and style is personal and meaningful and has so much feeling. I have booked to see her at The Concorde Club, Eastleigh on April 11th for the first time and eagerly await the day. Wonderful listening Stacey, thank you.
on 17 March 2000
Stacey Kent has been a splendid fixture on the UK jazz scene for the past few years and, as her previous albums (Close Your Eyes - CCD 79737 and The Tender Trap - CCD 79751) have shown, she is without doubt the most exciting new singer in decades. Accompanied by tenor supremo (and husband) Jim Tomlinson and an expert band, Stacey here swings her way through a wonderful set of standards with a vocal style that would fit easily into the song's eras as well as our own. If your taste runs to classic songs performed with wit and grace by a singer and band who can swing as well as deliver killer ballads, look no further!
DIANNE KRALL (singer).
on 5 May 2005
I must admit that my initial reaction to Stacey Kent's music was indifference - although not quite as indifferent as the seriously over-rated Diana Krall !! However, having heard the title track a few times on the radio, it eventually dawned on me that this CD was actually great fun. Most of the music has the feel of the old Verve recordings of the 1950's where swing era musicians would record with more modern minded musicians such as Oscar Peterson.
The addition of the guitar to the line up gives some of the tracks some of that "swing era chug" whilst Kent's true artistry is demonstrated on the slow tracks such as "Isn't this a lovely day" (the best thing on the album) and "All by myself." Unlike many backing groups for singers, it is immediately clear that this is a regular working band and all the better for that. Dave Newton is as impressive as ever on piano and is clearly the most modern-minded musician on the CD. Unfortunately, I remain to be convinced by Stacey Kent's other half, Jim Tomlinson , who sounds too much like Stan Getz for my tastes. (This will no doubt delight a certain age of listener!!) However, Coltane-ish sheets of sound would be highly inappropriate in this setting!
All in all, it is the enthusiasm of the musicians that merit the additional star. (She is even better as a live act and has a great rapport with her audiences.) If a smile could be transcribed in music, it would sound like Stacey Kent. This is great fun (check out "A Fine Romance" where she almost breaks out laughing mid-chorus) and if not of the calibre of my favourite singers such as Dianne Reeves, Abbey Lincoln and Cassandra Wilson, her easy-going records may encourage listeners to further explore the wonderful world of jazz. Recommended.
According to the liner notes written by Stacey, as a child she used to imagine herself in place of Ginger Rogers. Stacey shows her obvious enthusiasm for, and familiarity with, Fred's music in this, her third album. It is unusual for a singer to pay tribute to an artist from the thirties and forties, as tribute albums devoted to that era usually focus on the composer, but this is a brilliant album.
Stacey chose mostly well-known songs including such classics as Let yourself go, They can't take that away from me, Isn't this a lovely day, S'wonderful and A fine romance. Of course, Fred had many more classic songs that Stacey didn't include (such as Putting on the Ritz, The continental, Cheek to cheek, Fascinating rhythm, Nice work if you can get it, Night and day), but the thirteen songs chosen offer a good representation. Irving Berlin composed three of the songs here, while there are five by George and Ira Gershwin. Between them, those three men were responsible for the majority of Fred's classics so it is no surprise to find they have the majority here. All the songs here suit Stacey's style perfectly, and all are suitably updated for modern listeners while respecting tradition.
The musicianship is, as always on a Stacey Kent album, outstanding. If you are a jazz vocal fan or a Fred Astaire fan, or you are simply wondering what made Fred legendary, this is just for you.