Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved reader experience across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

9

Stacey Kent: The Changing Lights

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Stacey Kent is a jazz success story—not just in terms of her talent, but also in terms of her international popularity, with her previous three albums clocking up a total of over 500,000 sales. What makes her so successful? The Changing Lights, her tenth album, demonstrates all of the qualities.

There's the material, a mix of originals and standards: the arrangements, all but one by Jim Tomlinson, which act to highlight Kent's vocal qualities: the musicians, a veritable who's who of the best in UK jazz. Above all, there's her voice—light but expressive, engaging and evocative, whether she's singing in English, French or Portuguese.

Kent has a history of working with excellent musicians and The Changing Lights continues this fine tradition. Tomlinson is superb throughout—his tenor saxophone sound is one of the warmest and most expressive in jazz, as evidenced by his solo on "O Barquinho," which also features the gentle guitar of its co-writer Roberto Menescal. Bassist Jeremy Brown and pianist Graham Harvey form a swinging rhythm section, partnered by Matt Home or Joshua Morrison on drums, while John Parricelli's electric guitar enriches the sound whether he's playing rhythm or lead.

The standards on The Changing Lights include Charlie Chaplin's "Smile," Tom Jobim, Vinicius De Moraes and Gene Lees' "This Happy Madness" and Jobim and Newton Mendonca's "One Note Samba," which features Tomlinson on flute. Kent and Tomlinson treat each one with respect, crafting versions that are easily recognisable. Yet Kent still manages to take hold of the lyrics and persuade us that the words and their attendant emotions tell of her own experiences. Kent and the musicians approach Jobim, De Moraes and Norman Gimbel's "How Insensitive" with terrific control and restraint, yet they create an atmosphere that's charged with the singer's regret at the end of an affair. No fripperies, not a single musical or lyrical extravagance, just a performance of sheer beauty.

Tomlinson co-wrote six of the songs on The Changing Lights. Three songs continue the relationship with novelist and lyricist Kashuo Ishiguro that began on Breakfast On The Morning Tram (Blue Note, 2007). Two of them create narratives around the idea of travel with a loved one—around a continent on "The Summer We Crossed Europe In The Rain," across a city on "The Changing Lights."

The third of Ishiguro's contributions, "Waiter, Oh Waiter," showcases Kent's talent for stories of the lighter side of life as she pleads with the titular employee to help her come to terms with the nightmare scenario of a menu she doesn't understand. It doesn't quite grab at the heartstrings like "How Sensitive" or "This Happy Madness" but the gently humorous tale adds another dimension to the experiences Kent brings to life on The Changing Lights.

Track Listing: This Happy Madness; The Summer We Crossed Europe In The Rain; One Note Samba; Mais Uma Vez; Waiter, Oh Waiter; O Barquinho; The Changing Lights; How Insensitive; O Bêbado E A Equilibrista / Smile; Like A Lover; The Face I Love; A Tarde; Chanson Légère.

Personnel: Stacey Kent: vocals, guitar (8); Jim Tomlinson: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute; Graham Harvey: piano, Fender Rhodes; Jeremy Brown: double bass; Roberto Mensecal: guitar (6, 12); John Parricelli: guitar (2-5, 10, 13); Matt Home: drums (1, 7, 8, 11); Joshua Morrison: drums (2-5, 10, 13); Raymundo Bittencourt: ganza (6).

Title: The Changing Lights | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Warner Jazz

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Roppongi CD/LP/Track Review Roppongi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Is Life Long? CD/LP/Track Review Is Life Long?
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Contra la indecision CD/LP/Track Review Contra la indecision
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Vessel in Orbit CD/LP/Track Review Vessel in Orbit
by Don Phipps
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Pulse/Quartet CD/LP/Track Review Pulse/Quartet
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: January 19, 2018
Read OR CD/LP/Track Review OR
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2018
Read "Ara" CD/LP/Track Review Ara
by Don Phipps
Published: January 4, 2018
Read "Agrima" CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Contra la indecision" CD/LP/Track Review Contra la indecision
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 10, 2018
Read "Falando Docemente" CD/LP/Track Review Falando Docemente
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 13, 2017
Read "Live 1972" CD/LP/Track Review Live 1972
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 5, 2017
Read "Sing House" CD/LP/Track Review Sing House
by Jerry D'Souza
Published: October 2, 2017