STACEY KENT; The Changing Lights (Parlophone)

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Through a distinguished 15 year career the jazz chanteuse, Stacey Kent constantly reinvents herself. She’s recorded across a number of jazz genres and sung fluently in French, Portuguese, Italian and German… as well as English, of course. For this new collection Stacey offers a full long player of gentle bossa novas. Yes … on previous albums she’s generally included some Latin-inspired numbers but ‘The Changing Lights’ is devoted entirely to that most insinuating of  sounds and for the collection she’s chosen a mix of accepted Brazilian classics and a set of newly commissioned songs.

Of those new songs the immediate grabber is ‘The Summer We Crossed Europe In The Rain’. Penned by Stacey’s sax player and arranger, Jim Tomlinson with Kazuro Ishiguru, it has a real 60’s feel to it … gentle yet cinematic in the way that the best of Astrud Gilberto’s work always was. The same writing pair is also responsible for the livelier ‘Waiter, O Waiter’ and the much more introspective album’s title cut. Tomlinson also provides the music to Bernie Beaupere’s French lyric on ‘Chanson Legere’ and, as you’d expect, Ms Kent’s French delivery is impeccable.

Of the covers the version of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s ‘This Happy Madness’ is gently beguiling… but then so too are takes on his ‘How Insensitive’, ‘One Note Samba’ and ‘Meditation’. Other featured covers include ‘Smile’, ‘The Face I Love’ and ‘Like A Lover’ – which captures the essence of the collection.

Stacey Kent will be touring from September to November in support of ‘The Changing Lights’ … go to for full details

(BB) 4/5