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Stacey Kent: Summer Me, Winter Me

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Stacey Kent: Summer Me, Winter Me
With her album sales measured in millions, Stacey Kent is one of the great success stories in modern jazz. Her multi-lingual abilities allow her to record in various languages and she has appeared in over fifty countries. Her appeal is global and it is her vocal ability which has taken her to these heights. Her voice is light but commands attention with her ability to engage and communicate the narratives of love and regret, often in a simple and minimalist manner.

This album came about as a result of the material used in her live sets. Often that material had not been formally recorded. In response to audience requests, those songs have been arranged and recorded on Summer Me, Winter Me.

The album includes two original songs written by Cliff Goldmacher and Kent's husband, Jim Tomlinson. Tomlinson also arranged all the tracks as well as playing tenor saxophone, flutes, clarinet, percussion and keyboards. The rest of the tracks are jazz standards with the exception of one track which has lyrics by Nobel Prize-winning author, Kazuo Ishiguro. The album was recorded over three sessions with different piano, bass and drum trios. There is also a string quartet on one track.

Of the original songs, the stand-out is "Thinking About the Rain." Kent's phrasing and vocal clarity all suit the narrative perfectly. There is consummate support from Tomlinson's flute with neat prompting from drummer Anthony Pinciotti. Another high point comes with the bittersweet ballad "Postcard Lovers" which has lyrics by Ishiguro and previously appeared on the live album, Dreamer In Concert (Blue Note, 2012). Tomlinson effectively revises his original music to enhance the song.

Surprisingly, there are two versions of the same song by Jacques Brel, but with different arrangements and in different languages. The original French version of "Ne me quitte pas" is stark and sad, the English version, "If You Go Away," a little lighter with the string quartet in the background. In contrast and regardless of whether it is familiar from the version by Ella Fitzgerald, Captain Sensible or Bloody Mary, "Happy Talk" is light-hearted, upbeat and fun with a sax solo from Tomlinson. Elsewhere there are songs composed by Michel Legrand, Lerner & Loewe, Rodgers & Hammerstein and others.

There is no unnecessary adornment to these songs yet they create the perfect ambience for Kent to deliver her delicate interpretations. Her voice has effortless swing and finds warmth and compassion in every track. The musicians show restraint and perform to highlight Kent's vocal. The album offers a great deal to enjoy and her success story goes from strength to strength.

Track Listing

Summer Me, Winter Me; La Valse des Lilas; Thinking About the Rain; Under Paris Skies; If You Go Away; Happy Talk; Show Me; Postcard Lovers; Corcovado; A Song That Isn’t Finished Yet; Ne me quitte pas.

Personnel

Additional Instrumentation

Art Hirahara: piano (1-5, 7, 9, 10); Tom Hubbard: bass (1-5, 7, 9, 10); Anthony Pinciotti: drums (1-5, 7, 9, 10); Graham Harvey: piano (6, 8, 11); Jeremy Brown: bass (6, 8, 11); Joshua Morrison: drums (6, 8, 11); Aurelie Chenille: violin (5); Claire Chabert: violin (5); Fabrice Planchat: viola (5); Gabriel Planchat: cello (5).

Album information

Title: Summer Me, Winter Me | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Naive


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