Stacey Kent, Songs From Other Places, Candid ****

There is a certain paradox if not irony at play on an album where covers are a theme that the best song is an original that you won't have heard before. That is certainly the case on Stacey Kent's latest Songs From Other Places because to zoom in …

Published: 17 Sep 2021. Updated: 9 months.

There is a certain paradox if not irony at play on an album where covers are a theme that the best song is an original that you won't have heard before. That is certainly the case on Stacey Kent's latest Songs From Other Places because to zoom in on one song only 'Tango In Macao' kidnaps your ears and sounds like a standard and certainly operates like an instant classic already. The work of Mr Stacey ''big Jim'' Tomlinson and Nobel laureate Sir Kazuo Ishiguro, not just on a par with their best song together since their masterpiece 'The Changing Lights', it's even better. A song of playful reproach clinging on to hope 'Tango In Macao' turns to sardonic humour certainly when the Duchess is given to sing the line ''you said we'd tango in Macao but we've done nothing of the sort'' which is one of the ouchiest of lines written by the literary giant possibly ever in a song. Stacey gamely refuses to ham it up too much although the song is crying out for lots of melodrama and walking the line makes the lyric work while making whoopee with some of the rest of the one-sided badinage when the mood lightens and the rhymes romp along from ''now'' to land gleefully on ''before the days of Chairman Mao''. But come to think of it the often deliciously waspish tone of Ish's wonderful Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall (Faber and Faber, 2009) could be read instructively for tone and more than a little insight alongside 'Tango in Macao'. Fans of Graham Harvey may well have separation anxiety given that US player Art Hirahara is the Songs From Other Places pianist instead. Excellent he is. As for the standards they don't delight as much. However, Stacey's moving version of 'American Tune' displays once again what a world-class jazz singer she is – not that that's ever in doubt.

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Overall list of best jazz albums in 2021

Marlbank's 20 best jazz albums of the year 1 Solotude 2 Black Acid Soul 3 Kinds of Love 4 Promises 5 Absence 6 Skyline 7 Mirror Mirror 8 Smoke Sessions 9 The Magic of Now 10 Time Traveler 11 Side-Eye NYC V1.IV 12 Revival Room 13 The …

Published: 17 Sep 2021. Updated: 6 months.

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Marlbank's 20 best jazz albums of the year

1 Solotude

2 Black Acid Soul

3 Kinds of Love

4 Promises

5 Absence

6 Skyline

7 Mirror Mirror

8 Smoke Sessions

9 The Magic of Now

10 Time Traveler

11 Side-Eye NYC V1.IV

12 Revival Room

13 The Heart Wants

14 K​(​no​)​w Them, K​(​no​)​w Us

15 Uneasy

16 Glimpses of Truth

17 Désinances

18 Cairn

19 En attendant

20 Plan B

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