All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 (or more) and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

308

Stacey Kent: The Boy Next Door

Jeff Stockton By
Published:
Sign in to view read count
Stacey Kent: The Boy Next Door Stacey Kent is in love with words. She's pretty fond of melody, too. But her heart belongs to a good lyric, and when the words are right, her swinging jazz quartet is there to reimagine the tune, if necessary. On The Boy Next Door, Kent pays tribute to her heroes, most of whom made their mark singing the Great American Songbook, popular standards written by the likes of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and the Gershwins, along with a few contemporary additions.

If Kent's voice is girlish, her persona is that of a woman who may sound young, but has been around for a few years. She holds the microphone closely and caresses each word, wringing poignancy and knowingness from each syllable, landing crisply on consonants. On the recording of Berlin's "Say It Isn't So," she implores her lover to come clean, directly and painfully.

In live performance at the Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel in September (the first Friday of a month-long run), she carefully delivered each plea for the truth with conversational matter-of-factness. Jim Tomlinson's sax offered reassurance in warm, breathy, Ben Webster-esque lines. She may not have believed him, but she looked as if she wanted to.

Part two of this story might be found in "What the World Needs Now," a late addition to the songbook by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, which Kent rescues from American Idol-schlock with good taste and understated piano accompaniment. Live, Kent's vulnerability in this song was as clear as her enunciation.

All is not melancholy, however. Kent is arguably more comfortable with songs that give wisdom the advantage over the wants of her heart. "Makin' Whoopee," inspired by the Ray Charles/Betty Carter duet, is a clever, cautionary tale for couples whose love nests might tatter as the years go by. "Too Darn Hot," spurred by Colin Oxley's percolating guitar, is sung from the point of view of someone who has experienced first-hand how the level of heat outdoors can influence the heat generated indoors. And Dizzy Gillespie's jive "Ooh-Shoo-Be-Doo-Bee" is an infectious course on how to say "I love you" at least two different ways. In the Oak Room, it was playfully sexy.

The record concludes with "Bookends," by Paul Simon, who recommends we "preserve our memories." Stacey Kent remembers the days when nuance, wit, and humor were in style, and with like-minded musicians, careful song choice, impeccable time, and unaffected phrasing, she'll help bring them back.

This review originally appeared in AllAboutJazz-New York .


Track Listing: 1. The Best Is Yet to Come (Coleman/Leigh) - 3:28 2. The Boy Next Door (Blane/Martin) - 3:43 3. The Trolley Song (Blaine/Martin) - 4:06 4. Say It Isn't So (Berlin) - 4:43 5. Too Darn Hot (Porter) - 3:28 6. Makin' Whoopee (Donaldson) - 3:11 7. What the World Needs Now Is Love (Bacharach/David) - 4:12 8. You've Got a Friend (King) - 4:21 9. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) (Ellington/Webster) - 4:59 10. Ooh-Shoo-Be-Doo-Bee (Carroll/Graham) - 3:07 11. People Will Say We're in Love (Hammerstein/Rodgers) - 3:48 12. 'Tis Autumn (Nemo) - 4:32 13. All I Do Is Dream of You (Brown/Freed) - 3:28 14. I Get Along Without You Very Well (Carmichael. Hoagy) - 3:28 15. You're the Top (Porter) - 2:31 16. Bookends (Simon) - 1:16

Personnel: Stacey Kent - Vocals; Dave Chamberlain - Double Bass; Curtis Schwartz - Vocals; David Newton - Piano, Keyboards, Vocals; Colin Oxley - Guitar; Jim Tomlinson - Saxophone, Vocals; Matt Home - Drums.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Candid Records | Style: Vocal


Shop For Jazz

New York Beat
Bailey's Bundles
Tell Me More
CD/LP/Track Review
New York Beat
CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
Read more articles
The Changing Lights
The Changing Lights
Warner Jazz
2014
buy
The Changing Lights
The Changing Lights
Warner Jazz
2013
buy
[no cover]
Hushabye Mountain
Candid
2011
buy
[no cover]
Dreamer In Concert
Candid
2011
buy
[no cover]
Les Eaux De Mars
Candid
2010
buy
Raconte-Moi
Raconte-Moi
Blue Note Records
2010
buy
Chet Baker Chet Baker
trumpet
Billie Holiday Billie Holiday
vocalist
Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald
vocalist
Melody Gardot Melody Gardot
vocalist
Dianne Reeves Dianne Reeves
vocalist
Cassandra Wilson Cassandra Wilson
vocalist
Diana Krall Diana Krall
piano
Eliane Elias Eliane Elias
piano

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.