Monday, December 3, 2007

Stacey Kent - Breakfast on the Morning Tram

Stacey Kent’s newest release Breakfast on the Morning Tram marks the first time she has recorded songs written particularly with her in mind. Previous releases have focused more specifically on standards.

In total there are four tunes written expressly for her and this album. The lead track “The Ice House” and the title track are two of them. They also happen to be amongst the strongest tracks on this release.

Stacey Kent’s voice is unique and enjoyable to listen to for it’s impressive range of styles. Her collaborators on this album form a strong jazz ensemble that swings. Every note shows them to be accomplished players well suited to Kent’s strong vocals. One of the most interesting song choices is Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.” Stacey Kent’s version will have you hearing the song in an entirely new way. Her voice is smooth as silk where Stevie Nicks voice is rough around the edges. The important thing is that it works wonderfully.

Less surprising, but no less successful is her version of “What a Wonderful World.” Are there any songs in the jazz world more associated with a performer than that one is with Louis Armstrong? What sets this version apart is that she makes it her own and forces the listener to look at a well-known tune in a brand new light.

Stacey Kent has a strong following in France and thus there are 2 songs with vocals in French on this album.
If you’re a fan of Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn or Norah Jones, Stacey Kent is an artist to seek out. “Breakfast on the Morning Tram” is a good place to start.