Candid round up a few gems from Ms Kent's back catalogue including a previously...
Peter Marsh 2003
Now that Stacey Kent's hit the 200,000 mark in sales, it seems like a good time to whip out a collection like this. Taken from her first three Candid albums (plus a collaboration with tenor player Jim Tomlinson and one unreleased track), it's ample demonstration of the qualities that have made her one of the most popular mainstream singers around.
Kent has the knack of giving straight, unadorned readings of well worn standards witha freshness that's rare and sweet. Much like Peggy Lee, she doesn't reinvent on a grand scale or dazzle with vocal pyrotechnics but draws you in with the clarity of her delivery. It's subtle, unforced stuff; she can be cute without cloying, sassy without being smug and handles ballads with an assured delicacy and depth. What could easily become cliche is never in danger of being so; check the joyful treatment of "In The Still of the Night", "It's Delovely" or the poise of the hushed, Bill Evans-esque "You Go To My Head".
Tomlinson's tenor displays similar qualities; with a breathy tone reminiscent ofZoot Sims or Al Cohn,he elaborates on the Lester Young school with an easy grace (best heard on the delicious bossa-tinged take on "East of the Sun, West of the Moon"). Able support is given by pianists David Newton and John Pearce, guitarist Colin Oxley and rhythm sections that include the wonderful Dave Green on bass. (Though a slap on the wrist should go to Candid for not crediting Guy Barker's sparkling trumpet on Ellington's "I'm Just a Lucky So and So").
All in all, a fine introduction to the work of one of the best interpreters of the Great American Songbook around. Diana who?