First published in September 2018. Mobbed by fans at the end of the Friday first house of her current run at Ronnie Scott’s who jostled with strollers and jazz fans rocking up for the later house the globe trotting singer Stacey Kent was in her home town for the annual residency and the ultimate girl next door singer was loving it all.
Jim Tomlinson, who when the set opened began on concert flute and then during the course of the 80 or 90-minute set switched to either his tenor saxophone delivered in his typical Stan Getzian manner or straight soprano, had earlier explained speaking to marlbank at the bar that his lyricist writing partner the 2017 Nobel prize for literature laureate Kazuo Ishiguro who collaborated with him on ‘Bullet Train’ plans to be in the audience later in the run.
Last year’s ecstatically reviewed orchestral sessions proved the singer can surround herself in more lush settings and while this was a smaller more human and very different situation the set contained some numbers from I Know I Dream, ‘Bullet Train’ standing out. “Why’s it taking so long/For the night to fall?” in the lyric has that wistfulness the writers so easily evoke and which on ‘The Changing Lights’ an earlier song of theirs actually sums up Ishiguro and Tomlinson’s approach as the protagonists “vowed” to guard their dreams. This was not a dark set in terms of mood, more a sunny delight.
The audience was largely docile however a lit up inside fan in the audience spoke to the singer in Portuguese to which Kent responded in kind to the fan’s obvious delight. Graham Harvey on piano and Fender Rhodes electric piano was decorous as were the long tall bassist Jeremy Brown and quiet man of the drums Josh Morrison. A simmering ‘Dindi’ was the tender highlight of the night. SG
Photo: Diane Sagnier