Friday, October 19, 2007

Stacey Kent – Breakfast on the Morning Tram (Blue Note, 2007)

Jazz singer Stacey Kent’s Blue Note debut is a highly polished effort where she is accompanied by Graham Harvey on piano and Fender Rhodes, John Parricelli on guitars, Dave Chamberlain on bass, Matt Skelton on drums and percussion and Jim Tomlinson on reeds. The music, sung in both French and English is gentle and unchallenging, focusing on the lyrics without improvisatory interpretation. The album is a mix of standards, new songs written especially for this project and pop tunes. I must admit that I am not a real big fan of very mannered jazz singers, especially those who do not embrace the blues, but I tried to give this one an honest listen. But I just didn’t care for it, for me Kent’s singing comes off as a little too cutesy and sweet, and the musicians, while obviously quite talented, are never given a chance to stretch out and blow. I’m sure this will go over well for whatever passes for jazz radio nowadays, and will be well embraced by fans of Norah Jones and Diana Krall, but it’s not something I will return too. No disrespect intended for Ms. Kent and her band, but it’s just too doggone saccharine for my tastes.

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