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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke


Amazon UK
  Stacey Kent - vocals; Jim Tomlinson - tenor saxophone, flute; Colin Oxley - guitar; David Newton - piano; Simon Thorpe - bass; Jasper Kviberg - drums. Recorded 3/4th July, 7th September 2001, England.  
1. Shall We Dance ?
2. Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered
3. My Heart Stood Still
4. It Never Entered My Mind
5. I Wish I Were In Love Again
6. Thou Swell
7. It Might As Well Be Spring
8. Nobody's Heart ( Belongs To Me )
9. I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair
10. This Can't Be Love
11. Easy To Remember
12. Manhattan
13. Bali Ha'i

Stacey Kent has made optimum use of her talent on this latest recording. She has really cashed in on the idea of "less is more" in that these performances are full of control and subtle understatement . Her voice is not amongst the more powerful ones and she does not possess the greatest of ranges, but like all good artists, she makes optimum use of what she has. Her delivery is on the gentle side but there are also strong traits of Ella Fitzgerald in her tonal nuances and phrasing (" Thou Swell" is a good example of this). She is capable of bringing to mind many other great interpreters of the material ( Astrid Gilberto on "It Might As Well Be Spring " for instance) but she manages to add something of herself to each selection.

The other members of the band are all superlative and have the opportunity to shine on many occasions . Jim Tomlinson plays excellent tenor with a light, cool approach - he builds his phrases a la Getz on " Bewitched" and plays an eerie solo introduction to "It Never Entered My Mind " - his sound and concept are almost classical. He has the ability to give a more swinging, booting performance as illustrated by his solo on "This Can't Be Love". Colin Oxley is featured on guitar on "It Never Entered My Mind" and the piano playing of David Newton can be heard to great effect both as a solo and accompanying voice throughout, but special mention must be made of his chorus on "My Heart Stood Still".

The selection of material is wonderful. The Richard Rodgers songbook is arguably the finest in all popular music, covering, as it does, such a large timespan. Many of the all-time favourites are here along with such lesser known delights as "Nobody's Heart Belongs To Me". Both lyricists were able to portray wit and charm which complemented the music to perfection . This album is a most worthy project.

Dick Stafford



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