Having previously demonstrated a knowing way with sets from the Great American Songbook and a special bent for Brazilian-flavored melodies, vocalist Stacey Kent takes on a different sort of mix here. And succeeds brilliantly, which shouldn't surprise anyone who has been listening to her, for this porcelain princess has gradually moved into the front rank of current young singers. Her voiceis it mercury or is it clear water running over stones in a brook?falls ever so easily on the ear, managing the neat feat of being as light as a butterfly yet emotionally substantial.
The opening tune, "The Ice Hotel, Kazuo Ishiguro and Jim Tomlinson's newly-minted enigmatic gem, charms with her deliciously clear delivery. The title track is another newbie by Ishiguro-Tomlinson that has Kent painting a savvy word portrait of an Amsterdam morning. The more familiar "Never Let Me Go is typical of how skillfully she can wend her way through deeper moments while never losing her particular lightness.
Whether it's the playfully French "Ces petits riens or the samba mood of Bergman-Mendes' "So Many Stars, Kent's a Loreley to whom one surrenders unreservedly.
The Ice Hotel; Landslide; Ces petits riens; I Wish I Could Go Travelling Again; So Many Stars; Samba Saravah; Breakfast On the Morning Tram; Never Let Me Go; So Romantic; Hard-Hearted Hannah; La saison des Pluies; What a Wonderful World.
Stacey Kent: vocals; Graham Harvey: piano and Fender Rhodes; John Parricelli: guitars; Dave Chamberlin: double bass; Matt Skelton: drums and percussion; Jim Tomlinson: tenor sax, alto sax, soprano sax, flute.