Let Yourself Go (Celebrating Fred Astaire)

COMPOSERS: Berlin,Gershwin,Kern
LABELS: Candid
ALBUM TITLE: Stacey Kent
PERFORMER: Stacey Kent (v), Jim Tomlinson (ts, as, clt), Colin Oxley (g), David Newton (p), Simon Thorpe (db), Steve Brown (d)
CATALOGUE NO: CCD 79764

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Stacey Kent was voted best jazz vocalist in last year’s British Jazz Awards, and as well as gaining a sizeable audience in the UK she’s also gathering fans in the USA where her last album, The Tender Trap, has been released. Add to all that the fact that she is much admired by musicians, and we can begin to appreciate her quietly spectacular success.

The qualities she admires in Fred Astaire are qualities she possesses herself. She’s a natural, with a subtle sense of timing, a superb clarity of diction, an easy, at times almost conversational, delivery of lyrics devoid of any grand or melodramatic gesture, and a pleasing voice with an occasional attractive nasal twang.

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She also has a band of exceptional musicians who are not only wonderfully sympathetic accompanists, but also superb soloists. Here she gives consummate performances of 13 classic songs by Berlin, Gershwin and Kern, leavened by sparkling solos from the band. It’s a gem of an album.