Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Dreamer Is Still Alive

I have never seen Stacey Kent live, and after hearing her new album, "Dreamer in Concert," I just might put it on my bucket list.  Recorded at La Cigale in Paris, she sparkles here, like an earthier Diana Krall or Jane Monheit, yet still refined and pretty. Jazz purists may scoff at her slickness, but she sings like a real musician, and swings like a chandelier, and she swings with an emotive quality and you can feel she has investment in the music and knows and understands what she is singing about. I would guess she was touting her French language, "Raconte Moi," as she sings French songs in the repertoire, but then again she also mines from the Jobim songbook and from there you can see another part of her versatility. Her French sounds wonderful, and she gets the breezy Brasilian songs. I particularly liked her clear-diction reading of "Waters Of March," which she sings with intelligence.  And I totally dig that she starts "It Might As Well Be Spring" with melancholy, then shifts tempo and drives it hard to finish. I coud even forgive the too-frequent saxophone solos by her husband, Jim Tomlinson. And speaking of him, she sings one of his compositions, the beautiful "Postcard Lovers," which has lyrics by one of my favorite authors, Kazuo Ishiguro, and it is a beautiful song. But my favorite track is probably the slow-burn "They Can't Take That Away From Me," wherein she is longing, loving, and lingerie sexy all at the same time.(i particularly loved that she sang the verse in the middle of the song - works just as fine!)  Those who haven't heard her will be instant fans after hearing this recording. 

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