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Stacey Kent – The Boy Next Door


AllMusic Review by David Jeffries

Wrapping her sweet voice around songs by male singers she admires, Stacey Kent delivers another pleasant and low-key album with The Boy Next Door. Kent’s tribute choices range from traditional pop (Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett) to mainstream jazz instrumentalists (Dave Brubeck, Dizzy Gillespie) to the softer side of rock (James Taylor, Simon and — unmentioned in the liner notes — Garfunkel). With a gentle conviction akin to early Blossom Dearie without the cheeky flair, the album makes for breezy listening. The 16 tracks don’t differ enough in tone, making the album a bit too long, but individual moments of warm openhearted excellence make it worthwhile. The sentimentality of “Bookends” or “‘Tis Autumn” suit her precious delivery well, while the sly moments of “Makin’ Whoopee” feel out of the singer’s reach. The bandmembers stay out of the way for the most part, waiting for their solos rather than interacting much with Kent. Drummer Matt Home’s light but lively style is especially accommodating and guitarist Colin Oxley’s percussive take on “Too Darn Hot” ends up being the album’s greatest moment.

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Stacey Kent’s unique, distinctive style could best be described as classic chic; the musical equivalent of the ‘little black dress’. Just as the little black dress has the power to let a woman’s personality shine through, Ms Kent’s delicately nuanced interpretations of the Great American Songbook eloquently showcase the complex melodies and classy, sophisticated lyrics of American popular music during its golden ages.

Vocally, Ms Kent has never sounded better. And there is so much to admire: her dulcet-toned mezzo soprano, with its shimmery jazz lilt and translucent vibrato, her innate sense of swing and instinctive timing, her subtly shaded line readings, and the exquisite delicacy of her phrasing. A master storyteller and communicator, Ms Kent also brings a comparative literature graduate’s acute interpretive skills to her singing, eschewing shopworn sentimentality for a piquant romantic lyricism.
Ms Kent’s album, “The Boy Next Door”, is a heartfelt and reverent tribute to her musical heroes, which include legendary crooners Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, octogenarian jazz master Dave Brubeck and Manhattan cabaret doyen Bobby Short. The stylish jazz chanteuse’s repertoire also finds her working outside the Great American Songbook for the first time, with contributions from latter-day pop songwriters Burt Bacharach, Paul Simon and Carole King. Ms Kent puts her own indelible stamp on each number as she weaves her magic on a delectable collection of pop-jazz standards that encompass infatuation, seduction, love, loss and reminiscence.
Ms Kent receives impeccable support from her sleek, urbane jazz quintet, whose rhythmic fluency is further enhanced by the tasteful, literate arrangements. Newton and Tomlinson, both accomplished musicians in their own right, also display hitherto unknown musical talents as they join Curtis Schwartz to provide tongue-in-cheek backing vocals for Ms Kent’s deliciously bouncy rendition of “Ooh-Shoo-Be-Doo-Bee”.


1. The Best Is Yet To Come
2. The Boy Next Door
3. The Trolley Song
4. Que-Reste-T-II De Nos Amours?
1. Say It Isn’t So
2. Too Darn Hot
3. Makin’ Whoopee
4. What The World Needs Now Is Love
1. You’ve Got A Friend
2. I Got It Bad
3. Ooh-Shoo-Be-Doo-Bee
4. People Will Say We’re In Love
1. ‘Tis Autumn
2. All I Do Is Dream of You
3. I Get Along Without You Very Well
4. You’re The Top
5. Que Feras-Tu De Ta Vie?
6. Bookends


Additional information

Weight 1.200 kg
Dimensions 32.0 × 32.0 × 2.0 cm