5.0 out of 5 stars Stacey Kent - she's baaaack !
Ok, Stacey Kent fans, let's all fess up. I don't think she's really put a bad CD, or even a "good but not great" CD yet. But the last two, while good, often quite good, just didn't *quite* get the airplay on my player as maybe some of the earlier ones. Oh, "Dreamsville" had a few killer songs, but sometimes I felt there were a bunch that just didn't...
Published on Oct. 16 2003 by M. Saunders
3.0 out of 5 stars A little less jazz this time round
I personally welcome the fact that Stacey Kent has decided to record some slightly more contemporary material for this album, especially when the songs are as good as 'What the World Needs Now is Love' and 'You've Got a Friend'. That said, the bulk of the material is from the standard repertoire, including a brace of Cole Porter songs, chosen in the form of tributes to a...
Published on Aug. 29 2003
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2.0 out of 5 stars The inevitable bad review.....,
Sorry to be the party pooper, but I have spent a week in my workplace listening to Ms Kent's album. The best thing I can say about it is that at least she isn't Norah Jones!
The voice of Ms Kent is slight and her timbre seems to exhibit little depth. Her vocal mannerisms are well studied, but that is what they are - studied mannerisms. Songs like 'What the world needs now' border on out-and-out kitsch. Some of the other songs have the feel of quality background music about them. One could imagine that this CD might be played in cafés, bistos and bars as background music.
After listening to the woeful efforts of Norah Jones, Stacey Kent does sound like a real singer and someone who at least has some talent. However, I found this album extremely 'twee' and 'nice'. There is little depth of feeling here and the voice isn't tested by any of this music.
As I said, apart from being superior 'wall-paper music' it would be hard to describe this album as anything other than 'ultra-lite' entertainment. You couldn't dance to the music on this disc, it doesn't explore the depths of the soul, the singer doesn't have a god-like voice and the songs themselves are pretty bland.
Music to listen to when you'd rather not listen to music?
Or music to hear rather than listen to.... ?
Music for 13 year old girls bored with posing pounting Pop 'princesses'??? ("Mum! Guess what!? I've bought an album you and dad will like!")
Better luck next time, Ms Kent! And sorry, there are always a few miserable gits like me out there who will never be pleased by the sort of album you've given us this time.
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine CD from "one of the most listenable singers around'',
With a voice that oozes sweetness, a touch of sadness and sometimes sexiness, a delicious enunciation, and an easy-going, wonderfully natural way with a melody, Stacey Kent is one of the most listenable singers around. A truly fine interpreter of songs from the Golden Era of American popular music, she's produced a string of high-quality albums, her newest being the finest to date. "The Boy Next Door'' (an appropriate title from a singer who could easily be described as "the girl next door)is a collectyion of songs associated with about a dozen and a half of her "musical heroes'' (Sinatra, Bennett, Sammy Davis, Nat Cole, Burt Bacharach, Paul Simon). It contains Kent's usual pleasurable readings of love songs ("Say It Isn't So, "People Will Say We're in Love,'' "The Boy Next Door'', all right, but she also gives us some of the swingingest stuff she's ever put on record. You'll love the pizzazz she brings to "The Best Is Yet To Come,'' the rousing rendition of "The Trolley Song,'' featuring saxophonist-husband Jim Tomlinson's hip obligatos, the bright, bouncy Dizzy Guillespie-Joe Carroll novelty "Ooh-Shoo-Be-Doo-Be,'' and a .....well, HOT "Too Darn Not,'' driven by Colin Oxley's rhythm guitar. Kent's served well by some cool arrangements, including the dramatic slowing of the tempo on the usually upbeat "Makin' Whooppee,'' transforming it from a novelty number to a sensual experience.
5.0 out of 5 stars Stacey Kent - she's baaaack !,
Ok, Stacey Kent fans, let's all fess up. I don't think she's really put a bad CD, or even a "good but not great" CD yet. But the last two, while good, often quite good, just didn't *quite* get the airplay on my player as maybe some of the earlier ones. Oh, "Dreamsville" had a few killer songs, but sometimes I felt there were a bunch that just didn't hit me. Her last attempt was pretty solid, but I don't always gravitate towards it when I reached for something to listen too...maybe because it was all from one composer (Richard Rodgers), who knows. It didn't help that around the same time Diana Krall did her live CD which I love either... that seemed to get more attention in my stack than Stacey's did, which isn't always the case.
I think, however, that "The Boy Next Door" is a landmark of sorts. She just seems, for lack of a better word, "arrived and confident". Her voice is in top, top form, with gorgeous phrasing, wonderful clarity, great feel, and finally, ever improving each time he took her to tape, Curtis Schwartz has recorded it dead on... the recording quality of this disk moves up into the upper echelon; the whole band and her voice integrate wonderfully. Way to go!
But I don't expect most of you pay much attention to that sort, so it's back to the music. I think she's hit on a really good collection of songs here, and while they aren't going to appeal to the lyric-content-meaning freaks who have to analyze what a song says, let's be honest, Stacey Kent is about the ephemeral delivery of the meaning and soul of the song, not about the literal content of the lyrics, and that's where nobody right now that I can think of (that sings) has her beat. She *nails* getting that so-hard-to-do "feel" right, and it's a large reason I have most everything she's done in my collection and keep going back to her.
Nitpicks? - One review mentioned the band doesn't get as much solo time as in others, and that is true. I would love a touch more of Dave Newton's wonderful Piano, but man, I'm nitpicking. The rest of the band is also in top form, complementing each piece wonderfully, with stellar playing more focused on quality and not, this time, on soloing. Newton digs down on organ on "Makin' Whoopee" which is a nice change-up from his stellar acoustic piano work, I'll also note.
Faves? There's probably 8 or 9 songs on here I really, really like, which is pretty good for me. But I gotta say.... her rendition of James Taylor's "You've got a friend" left me slack jawed. A great reading of a classic tune and played on something nice in terms of a playback system, it forces you to immediately stop what you're doing, forget whatever crap and tension you had in your day and spend a few minutes listening. Which, at the end of the proverbial day, this sort of music is all about.
Highly, Highly recommended.
3.0 out of 5 stars A little less jazz this time round,
By A Customer
I personally welcome the fact that Stacey Kent has decided to record some slightly more contemporary material for this album, especially when the songs are as good as 'What the World Needs Now is Love' and 'You've Got a Friend'. That said, the bulk of the material is from the standard repertoire, including a brace of Cole Porter songs, chosen in the form of tributes to a variety of singers, musicians and composers (All male incidentally) who happen to be some of Stacey's musical heroes. As before, Ms. Kent handles the ballads with great sensitivity and the more uptempo material with an infectious relish, supported by the same trio of musicians who've appeared on all her albums to date, Jim Tomlinson on saxes, David Newton on piano and Colin Oxley on guitar, plus Dave Chamberlain on bass and Matt Home on drums. If I have a gripe to make it is that there is less solo space than on previous SK albums for these splendid musicians to shine. Still, it's good to see she's still resisting the temptation to use orchestral settings, ala Diana Krall. She doesn't need an orchestra with a band as good as hers!
5.0 out of 5 stars boy next door - stacey kent,
As an admirer of and collector of Stacey Kent's CD's I did not think she could possibly outdo any of her previous recordings. However - I was wrong - her latest album supasses them all for perfection ofher slightly husky voice and choice of songs. "Say it isn't so" is gorgeous as are "The Trolley song" and "Too darned hot" (sorry Mel and Ella but this version is a strong contendere) and "Making Whoopee" which to me supasses many other recordings. I particularly enjoyed "Ooh.Shoo-be-doo-be" which I was not familiar with - a cute swinging number. I also considered "You've got a friend" -poignently and exquisitely done and a real winner!Well done Stacey - I hope I can get to see you live one day soon in Washington DC.
5.0 out of 5 stars More than romantic.,
When it's mentioned that this recording is easy listening, music to "space out" by is not what's meant. IMHO, it's a refernce to the listener wanting to take this music in. I find her singing clear with a quality of head voice I just don't seem to tire of, accompanied by musicians doing more than playing notes well. Both voice and band opperate in the truer sense of the word "ensemble" and push the title past being just another cover "album". Melencholy songs feel that way. Upbeat songs swing and celebrate where you'll be hard pressed to keep yourself still. Additionally, there are some solo instrumental gems to listen for too.
Just 1 song played on the local 24hr. jazz station found me adding her latest 4 releases to my CD library.
5.0 out of 5 stars Silky smooth original vocal caviar!,
If you like Diana Krall and Norah Jones but haven't heard Stacey Kent, you're in for a treat. She does not have the level of success or fame of those other two, but she's got a voice that just brings you in to the music. She's got the slightest accent to her singing, which adds to the appeal. This album is a good place to start with Stacey Kent, with "In Love Again" as another strong choice. This is one of those albums that is well recorded and engineered to the point that audiophiles will put it on to demonstrate their sound systems, but it's not just about the quality of the sound, its about the quality of the music. Highly reccommended!
4.0 out of 5 stars smooth....,
Stacey Kent's voice goes down like an expensive martini: smooth and warm.
She tackles the standards with the grace and humor they deserve, conjuring up echoes of Peggy Lee. Fans of Karrin Allyson will like the subtle roughness around the edges of her voice, but the overall impression is quite refined. Not as in love with her voice as Jane Monheit, but certainly not throwing pitch out the window like, say, Nina Simone.
Treats on this disc are the title tune and the Trolley Song, which Stacey sings with wit and verve.
This recording is definitely worth full price. Happy listening!
5.0 out of 5 stars Stellar Stacey!,
An avid fan (and friend) of Stacey & Jim and the rest of their wonderful band...I was awestruck by this newest CD. Listening to it for the first time, was like settling into a favorite chair in front of the fire and melting. Stacey told me a while ago, how excited they were by this work and that they thought it was their best yet. She was right on the mark with that assessment. In describing Stacey's music to a total stranger yesterday, I said that her voice is pure and clean and easy. The band accentuates all of that and more. "The Boy Next Door" is highly recommended!
5.0 out of 5 stars Stacey never disappoints,
Yet again, a stunning collection from the lady who is simply the greatest female jazz singer alive - yes, she's that good. Her interpretations of so many classics are invariably fresh and stylish, and all I can say is that its almost like hearing them for the first time. And what makes it all even more special for me is 1. her amazing voice and clear delivery, 2. the intensity of feeling, and 3. the great arrangements. The musicianship around her is superb, and the solos, whether sax, guitar, or piano are entrancing but never too intrusive.
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