Intelligence was the word running through my mind all as I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this perfect evening of musical bliss. Stacey Kent has all the essential elements of a remarkable jazz singer: great song choices, unique phrasing, a strong, flawless quartet accompanying her, and most important of all, a smooth, effortless, honey-dripped voice. But her thoughtfulness in every word, gesture, and song is what makes her special.
She opened with a song that I love that is rarely performed, “So Many Stars”, so right away I was sold.
Petite and gamin-like with short cropped hair and an elegant, simple black dress, she reminded me of the genre of what I call the quiet, classy, white singers from the 1950’s & 60’s that included Anita O’Day, Irene Kral and Blossom Dearie, whos style contrasted the bolder scat styles of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Betty Carter.
Another trademark of a great singer is the ability to seamlessly switch song genres and styles, and she went from sexy “Samba Saravah”, to a quirky “Show Me” from “My Fair Lady”, to Stevie Nicks “Landslide”, to a breathy French version of “I Wish You Love”, effortlessly. Most of the selections were from her new “Breakfast on a Morning Tram” CD, and she sang some original songs that her husband and saxophonist Jim Tomlinson wrote with Kazuo Ishiguro, including “ The Ice Hotel”, a smart, romantic ballad destined to be a standard.
The crowd loved her as much as I did and at the end of the concert, after an eternity of thunderous applause, she graciously sang four more specialties for her encore.
The now meaningless and mundane “What a Wonderful World”, overused as an anthem in commercials selling beer and diuretics, was transformed into a reflective, poetic ballad and it made me rediscover the beauty of the song.
Stacey Kent, you have a major new fan.
I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I will personally be leading. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour
includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.
I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com