Personnel: Stacey Kent (vocals); Colin Oxley (guitar); Jim Tomlinson (flute, tenor saxophone); David Newton (piano); Jesper Kviberg (drums).
Audio Mixer: Curtis Schwartz .
Liner Note Author: Alan Bates.
Recording information: Curtis Schwartz Studios, Ardingly, England (07/03/2001-09/07/2001).
Stacey Kent is back, with her regular combo, for an engaging tribute to Richard Rodgers. In addition to routinely covered songs like "It Never Entered My Mind" and "Bewitched," the Britain-based vocalist looks to the South Pacific book and comes up with two items seldom performed in a jazz context -- "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair" and "Bali Ha'i." Happily, these are two of the best cuts; the former, with its burlesque-ish 6/8 middle section, works amazingly well. The sound of the disc is strong, highlighting the nicely varied arrangements and the innate charm of Kent's puckish voice. There are a few downsides: a sluggish "Thou Swell," an aimless bossa nova reading of "It Might as Well Be Spring," and a general overabundance of ballads. But swinging tracks like "This Can't Be Love" and "My Heart Stood Still" (the latter spiced with tasty chord substitutions) make up for the lukewarm spots. ~ David R. Adler