The New York Times. Stacey Kent performing at Birdland. By STEPHEN HOLDEN Published: June 19, 2013

The Spirits of Brazil, Weaving Through Jazz Sounds

Stacey Kent and Jim Tomlinson at Birdland

With her bright, alluring sliver of a voice — a darting musical tongue of flame — Stacey Kent has few of the traits commonly associated with jazz singing. Yet with her lightly swinging delivery, curt phrasing and attraction to Brazilian bossa nova, she is a jazz singer in the iconoclastic mode of the much-missed Blossom Dearie, whom some critics wrongly dismissed as more cabaret than jazz.

Instead of Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, the spirits who guide Ms. Kent belong to the Brazilians, Antônio Carlos Jobim, and João and Astrud Gilberto. Dreaminess trumps realism. Ms. Kent and her husband, the saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, suggest a latter-day answer to Ms. Gilberto and Stan Getz, whose early recordings remain the foundation of what they do. And on Tuesday evening at Birdland, where Ms. Kent and Mr. Tomlinson arrived for their annual New York City appearance, the opening set was sprinkled with Jobim songs, animated as much by Mr. Tomlinson’s intensely smoky solos as by Ms. Kent’s girlish chirp.

But there is more. In recent years the novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, who writes fanciful, mildly surreal lyrics to Mr. Tomlinson’s music, has given Ms. Kent a quasi-literary identity. The portrait evoked by their collaborations is that of a reflective free spirit and latter-day romantic cautiously following her exploratory instincts. Although Ms. Kent has an introspective side, you could never describe her sensibility as tragic or even deeply sad. She projects an innate buoyancy.

Ms. Kent’s other defining characteristic is her pan-European musical outlook. She grew up in New Jersey, but she and her husband are based in England and have built up large followings in France and Germany. In her 2010 album, “Raconte-Moi,” Ms. Kent sings in fluent French.

It all made for a heady mixture in a show that was a kind of retrospective, the high points being the Sammy Cahn-Benny Carter standard “Only Trust Your Heart,” and a Tomlinson-Ishiguro collaboration, “The Changing Lights,” a song that defines Ms. Kent and Mr. Tomlinson as sophisticated, cosmopolitan jazz impressionists.

Stacey Kent continues through Saturday at Birdland, 315 West 44th Street, Clinton; (212) 581-3080, birdlandjazz.com.

 

HUFFINGTON POST

June 10, 2010. Stacey Kent at BIRDLAND, NYC. By David Finkle

First Nighter: Cabaret Thrushes Stacey Kent, Karen Oberlin Flying High and Low

Maybe because she's just releasing a Blue Note CD entirely in French called Raconte-Moi, fresh-faced, short-cropped-redheaded Stacey Kent, warbling at Birdland this week, suddenly made me think of Jean Seberg in Jean-Luc Godard's 1960 classic film Breathless. She's got that sort of naughty-innocent way about her, that as-yet-unsullied joie de vivre. Joy infuses everything she sings with a vocal zing -- which she's showing off this week as part of her current stateside tour. Wearing an understated black dress that seemed to whisper "Paris original," she demonstrated that, as she continues to work with mellow saxophonist-husband Jim Tomlinson, she only gets better and better. One of Kent's distinguishing factors is a special way of phrasing that may not be what the songwriter(s) had in mind but always sounds exactly right. "I'll make my tricks sound like no tricks at all," she could be saying as she runs, skips, hops and sometimes only saunters through whatever repertoire she's decided to give the once-over. Although she may strike this fan as reminiscent of "Breathless," she's never a bout de souffle, as the flick's original title has it. She's always in complete control of her craft, and smiling throughout her breezy commitment to it. Those left breathless are those lucky enough to be listening to her. How does she do it and yet remain so utterly unaffected, so winning? The communal audience breathlessness began this trip (she's American but lives in England) with a French translation of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Waters of March," with which she opened and sang, appropriately, as if the words and notes were spring thaw flowing over pebbles in a mountain stream. Included in the 12-song mix were the cute "Breakfast on the Morning Tram" and "Jardin d'Hiver" she often likes to deliver as well as several songs from the new album, a couple of which were written for her. "The Ice Hotel" is another one devised for her--by hubby Tomlinson, who, incidentally, soloed stunningly on "For All We Know." New to me this frame was Kent on the guitar, which she plays adeptly. Mentioning that she'd studied Portuguese last summer at Middlebury, she eased into Jobim's "Corcovado," using the inspired Gene Lees lyric. That's the one that goes, "I, who was lost and lonely, believing life was only a bitter, tragic joke, have found in you the meaning of existence, oh, my love!" I regularly judge "Corcovado" interpreters on which translations they use; if they don't use Lee's unflinching words, they lose points. Kent gained many. I'd say that Kent's set -- Art Hirahara on piano, Gordy Johnson on bass, Phil Hey on drums (and doesn't Kent love moving to their rhythms!) -- was flawless, but there is one aspect I think could be adjusted. For audience members who may or may not speak French, she should probably be more generous with the translations. She claims the contents are self-explanatory, but they really aren't. Still, the set was superlative.
---

THE NEW YORK TIMES

"Cosmopolitan Jazz With a Literary Accent"

By Stephen Holden

BIRDLAND, NYC June 2-6, 2009

Stacey Kent, fresh from a tour of 27 countries, was in an exultant mood on Thursday evening at Birdland. Her latest album, “Breakfast on the Morning Tram” (Blue Note/EMI), has enjoyed the kind of commercial success in Europe that Diana Krall’s records achieve in the United States; it also earned her a Grammy nomination for best jazz vocal album. In March she received the National Order of Arts and Letters decoration from the French culture minister.

But more significant, “Breakfast,” which has steadily grown on me since its release a year and a half ago, has solidified the identity of Ms. Kent, an American based in in London, as the drifting Cosmopolitan Girl of jazz. The heart of the record consists of four songs, with music by Jim Tomlinson and lyrics by the novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, that enter a literary realm infrequently visited by jazz songwriters. Mr. Tomlinson, besides writing the music, is also the saxophonist in Ms. Kent’s band, playing Stan Getz to her Astrud Gilberto, and is her “chef, driver, best friend and husband,” she said.

These songs crystallize Ms. Kent’s image as a young, hardy latter-day variation of a Jean Rhys character in romantic flux. As Mr. Ishiguro’s images flash like glimpses of landscape from a speeding train, Mr. Tomlinson’s music places them in a 1960s-flavored European-Brazilian impressionistic milieu. Singing her album’s title song and “The Ice Hotel,” as well as songs in French that included Henri Salvador’s “Jardin d’Hiver,” Ms. Kent made subtle dramatic use of her tart, two-tiered voice: sultry, with curlicues of vibrato when she coos, knife-edged when the volume is raised.

A voice as delicate as Ms. Kent’s requires special handling. In previous concerts the overuse of drumsticks had sometimes sabotaged her charm. On Thursday Phil Hey, the drummer in an ensemble that included the pianist Art Hirahara and the bassist Gordy Johnson, in addition to Mr. Tomlinson, remained laid-back enough to let her sparkle.

Ms. Kent’s international background helped to give her encore, that drippy, rose-colored musical greeting card “What a Wonderful World,” new resonance. She has been there and done that; both the songs and the singing evoke a rich, complicated, not to say privileged, artistic life.

Stacey Kent continues through Saturday at Birdland, 315 West 44th Street, Clinton; (212) 581-3080, birdlandjazz.com

INTERNETZEITUNG-JOURNAL INTERNET-INTERNET JOURNAL, 01 April 2009

Concert 27 Mars, 2009: Stacey Kent @ the Philharmonie, Published by Norry Goedert

La voix la plus suave du jazz contemporain

All photos by Philharmonie

POUR tous ceux qui connaissaient déjà pour les aimer passionnément les voix de Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Diana Krall ou, plus récemment, celle de Norah Jones, il leur faudra désormais y rajouter une voix singulièrement subtile, légère et chatouillante à souhait : nous parlons évidemment de Stacey Kent qui vient de donner un concert de toute beauté, devant une salle comble à la Philharmonie, avec un auditoire au comble du bonheur aussi…

Cette frêle personne à l’allure humble et vulnérable, Clint Eastwood en personne, grand passionné de jazz capable de discerner les authentiques talents, l’appela afin de lui proposer de chanter à l’occasion de son 70e anniversaire, ce qui veut dire beaucoup… Aujourd’hui, sous contrat exclusif avec la prestigieuse « Blue Note », cette grande ambassadrice du jazz vocal y a signé un album, « Breakfast on a morning tram », qui la consacre définitivement sur la scène internationale du jazz.

Très influencée par le répertoire romantique, elle y puise ses inspirations, mais aussi dans la musique country et le folk de son Amérique d'origine. Elle s’est très tôt fait siens les répertoires de Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald ou Frank Sinatra et s’est imprégné d’autres grands noms du jazz américain. Parmi d’autres qualités, elle possède un sens du phrasé hors du commun et, en tant qu’ancienne étudiante ès lettres, une profonde science des mots et de leur musicalité propre.

Stacey, après avoir obtenu son diplôme en littérature comparée au Sarah Lawrence College de New York, est partie en Grande-Bretagne, où elle a suivi les cours du « Guildhall School of Music and Drama », et rencontré le saxophoniste Jim Tomlinson, qu'elle a épousé en 1991.

Son premier album, « Close Your Eyes », sort en 1997. Cinq autres suivront, ainsi que des participations aux albums de Tomlinson, dont dernièrement « The Lyric » (2005), qui a remporté le prix de l'album de l'année aux BBC Jazz Awards 2006. Elle-même a remporté le prix de meilleure vocaliste aux British Jazz Award (2001) et BBC Jazz Award (2002). Un autre album, « The Boy Next Door », a été certifié disque d'or en France en 2006. Son album, « Breakfast On The Morning Tram » (2007) dont elle interprétait de larges extraits à la Philharmonie, fut consacré lui aussi disque d’or.

Infaillible fusion entre texte, musique et chant

Mais que serait la meilleure voix du monde sans beaux textes à interpréter et sans grands musiciens qui l’accompagnent ? Et, de ces deux côtés-là, Stacey est vraiment gâtée, puisque, d’une part, de nombreux textes de son nouvel album sont signés par l’écrivain britannique d’origine japonaise Kasuo Ishiguro, textes d’une beauté rayonnante et pleins d’une subtilité toute poétique ; et, d’autre part, les musiciens qui l’assistaient - en l’occurrence : son mari, ami, mentor et grand saxophoniste, Jim Tomlinson ; le pianiste Graham Harvey ; le bassiste Jeremy Brown ; et, last but not least, le batteur Mark Skelton – créèrent une atmosphère claire, scintillante, pure, parfois mélancolique, parfois si cristalline et fraîche qu’on croyait apercevoir cet « Ice Hotel » translucide qu’elle invoquait à la fin de la première partie de son superbe programme.

L’âme pure d’un jazz biseauté

Image Ce fut donc à un jazz très soigné, presque académique voire aristocratique, néanmoins partout sensuel et sensible qu’on pouvait assister ; elle : le timbre doux et chaud au léger trémolo cajolant les tympans ; son quatuor : créant un climat intimiste, parfois minimaliste, jouant avec une retenue toute calculée, une simplicité feinte qui dévoilait l’essence et l’âme d’un jazz poli, épuré, discipliné.

Le saxo de Tomlinson surtout retint notre attention : le son rêveur et moelleux, très à la « Stan Getz », portait partout l’empreinte d’un chant couleur or, soleil, miel ; et la voix de sa bien-aimée à la démarche câline d’un chat soyeux y rajoutait des « petits riens » d’une légèreté si enivrante qu’on crut l’entendre souffler : « Plus volatil que moi tu t’évapores… ! »

Si l’on y rajoute que Stacey Kent chante tout aussi bien en français, dont preuve quelques titres de Serge Gainsbourg et d’Henri Salvadore, qu’en anglais, on saura pourquoi le public fut à la fin totalement conquis par cette belle soirée jazz aux accents intensément humains !

"L’âme pure d’un jazz biseauté"

"Sens inné du phrasé et science musicale des mots"

 

LA REPUBLIQUE DU CENTRE. Stacey Kent, Salle Touchard, Orleans, France, 29 Mars, 2009

Délicieuse Stacey Kent, chanteuse de jazz éblouissante de naturel et de sensibilité

31 Mars 2009

Énergie, ballade, swing délicat. Tout est follement ciselé. (Photo : Céline Bachelet)

900 spectateurs ont assisté, dimanche, au Théâtre, au concert donné par une artiste émouvante et radieuse.

Tout simplement naturelle et rayonnante de bonheur, éblouissante de sensibilité et de fraîcheur, Stacey Kent donne, ce dimanche, un plus que joli concert programmé par la Scène nationale en lien avec Stéphane Kochoyan, directeur d'Orléans'Jazz. Délicatement entourée par Jim Tomlimson, saxophone, Graham Harvey, piano, Matt Skelton, batterie, et Jeremy Brown, contrebasse, celle qui a grandi à New York avant de vivre à Londres, donne un set de deux heures tout imprégné du souffle de « Breakfast on the morning tram » (Blue Note). L'un des titres qui y figure, écrit par son mari, Jim Tomlinson, et Kazuo Ishiguro, charme la salle. « The Ice Hotel » est, en effet, une ballade en forme de souriante déclaration d'amour dont la chanteuse a le délicieux secret. Salle Touchard, place aussi à « Ces petits riens » et à « La saison des pluies », de Serge Gainsbourg, à ce touchant « Au coin du monde », de Benjamin Biolay, ou à ce « Jardin d'hiver » en hommage à Salvador, cet « être tendre, élégant, adorable et chaleureux ». Confiant au public son bonheur d'être là, que la vie et l'amour la comblent comme un privilège, remerciant par ailleurs ses musiciens et le public de l'inspirer, l'artiste est au fil du concert de plus en plus émouvante. S'enchaînent une samba plaisir qui fait tourner les têtes, un « Que reste-t-il de nos amours ? » adorable, ou le « What a wonderful world », de Satchmo, de toute beauté. Fin de concert avec « You've got a friend ». Souriant et merveilleux, un ange vient de nous prendre par la main. --

Jean-Dominique Burtin

Le dimanche 29 juin 2008

Stacey Kent : jazzer sur les mots
Pierre Dallaire
Le Soleil
Collaboration spéciale
Québec

Si vous êtes du genre à trouver la météo troublante en ce début d’été, laissez-vous tenter par le jazz lumineux et raffiné de l’Américaine Stacey Kent. De passage au Domaine Forget jeudi, où nous avons assisté au spectacle, et au Palais Montcalm vendredi, elle a offert un concert intime et feutré, à l’image de son dernier album.

Difficile en effet de ne pas tomber sous le charme de cette chanteuse qui sait ensoleiller son répertoire en y mêlant joliment mélancolie et humour. Stacey Kent aime raconter et évoquer. Et on y croit rapidement, tant ses chansons lui ressemblent. Les spectateurs ont également apprécié ses interventions toutes en français. Francophile avouée, Stacey Kent a su nous faire rigoler avec sa manière de présenter les pièces. Elle a même pris le temps de rire des quelques petites erreurs laissées au passage.

Accompagnée d’un excellent quatuor (saxophone, piano, batterie et contrebasse), Stacey Kent sait nous faire voyager dans les univers savamment arrangés par Jim Tomlinson, son mari, qui compose maintenant pour elle et qui tient la partie du saxophone en spectacle.

Le style de sa musique et les nombreuses chansons françaises qu’elle avait choisies jeudi évoquent les atmosphères des derniers disques d’Henri Salvador, à qui elle a d’ailleurs rendu hommage. Son interprétation de Jardin d’hiver de ce dernier était vraiment touchante.

Charmante rencontre

On sort d’une soirée avec Stacy Kent charmé, peut-être pas renversé, mais ravi et touché par la rencontre. Si elle avait la voix de Billie Holiday ou d’Ella Fitzgerald, à qui on la compare très mal­adroitement dans le programme du concert, Stacey Kent ferait effectivement partie des grandes, car elle possède, comme les grandes, le sens du phrasé et, surtout, la science des mots et de leur musicalité.

Ceux qu’elle chante sont choisis avec un grand soin. Son goût prononcé pour la littérature, qu’elle a étudiée avant ses débuts de chanteuse, y est évidemment pour quelque chose. Plusieurs des pièces qu’elle savoure en spectacle ont spécialement été conçues pour elle. Quatre sont de l’écrivain anglais d’origine japonaise Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day, Booker Prize 1989). La musique et les arrangements sont de Tomlinson. Notons The Ice Hotel, splendide et remplie d’humour, et Breakfast in the Mornig Tram, qui a donné le titre à son dernier disque.

Son passage au Québec correspond au 26e pays visité dans le cadre de sa tournée mondiale. Lancée en octobre dernier, celle-ci se poursuivra un peu partout en Europe dans les prochains mois.

 

Hungarian daily "Magyar Hírlap", Jun 23, 2006

A Jazz diva with company: Stacey Kent at Béla Bartók National Concert Hall

Stacey Kent's name already sounds familiar for Hungarian audiences. This time the vivid performer has shared the spotlight with her husband, Jim Tomlinson (right). (photo by Dávid Merényi)]

What is a jazz diva like? Contrary to common beliefs, she is not a femme fatale and has nothing to do with an ageless bar singer in her seventies either. A jazz diva is the first to arrive on the stage and the last to leave it; a real pro whose spontaneous moves can surprise not only the audience but her musicians as well; amazing yet friendly, ethereal yet casual. Because jazz is by no means a genre for the "elite audiences" -- about love and sadness, one cannot sing down from a high horse. A jazz diva is the one to introduce her musicians to the audience but she herself needs no introduction for divas are known by everyone. And last but not least a jazz diva is the one to select with a perfect taste. For what is merely a changing fad in pop culture, is a valuable merit in jazz: to chose well from the musical lore.

Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Barbra Streisand and Diana Krall are the ones to be usually referred to as jazz divas, and most recently Stacey Kent too. The American born singer is a goddess-like yet deeply human phenomenom. She is a performer to be loved -- it comes through from her every move that she loves music and loves her audience that in turn adore their singer.

 

They adore her even if she confesses that she can't speak a word of Hungarian but she has a favourite song from France, "Le Jardin d'Hiver", which she translates into English for us to understand: "Winter Garden". The audience welcomes the anouncement with such enthusiasm as if she tried to sing their favourite folk song in broken Hungarian.

 

It is a pity that the name of this world-famous jazz singer has hardly been known in Hungary so far. Stacey Kent was born in New York and studied to be a literary scholar but in the end she ended up as a cosmopolitan jazz singer living in England most of the time. I suspect, however, that her prior studies has not much to do with the quality praised by so many of her music critics: her crystal clear pronounciation. (It is a rare experience to hear classic jazz pieces sung with such clearness that even poor speakers of English can understand them with ease.) Stacey Kent has met her husband and regular performing partner, Jim Tomlinson tenor saxophonist in England. It was It was him who persuaded her to pursue a career as profesionnal singer.

 

All that I wrote about jazz divas are certainly true for Stacey Kent who, for Hungarian audiences, debuted on Thursday at the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall. She selects with an excellent taste. Instead of their own original compositions, she and her band rather performs the great classics of jazz from Cole Porter and Gershwin to Paul Simon and Duke Ellington. She approaches this classic lore with due respect yet in a way that is unmistakenly unique: she plays with the lyrics, the tune and even with her microphone; yet her every move and gesture have a clear place and importance, which is also true for the brief periods of silence in her sometimes staccato performance. During these silent intermezzos the only noise to be heard in the hall is the quietly resonating sound of the air conditioner...

 

Kent treats her partner musicians with the same respect that she shows to her great predecessors of jazz. At her Budapest concert, apart from several classic pieces, she mainly sang from her new record (The Boy Next Door) and from her husband's third album (The Lyric). For Jim Tomlinson is mostly known as Kent's accompanying musician, although he is an outstanding musician himself. The diva seemingly gave the critics "the finger" in her own subtle way when unexpectedly anounced her favourite solo tune from her husband, the tune that Tomlin had played to her every night for months. Now we could also hear it, and while her husband was playing Kent moved out of the spotlight to the edge of the stage.

That is how divas are. -- Roland Borsos

 

 

 

All About Jazz - Dec 9, 2007

Over at Birdland Stacey Kent greeted holiday visitors with tunes from her impressive new CD on Blue Note. Breakfast On The Morning Tram is a collection of pop covers (”So Many Stars”, “What A Wonderful World”) French love songs (”Ces Petits Riens”, “La Saison Des Pluies”) and originals from her husband/saxophonist Jim Tomlinson and author Kazuo Ishiguro (”I Wish I Could go Travelling Again”, “The Ice Hotel” and the title tune). These latter compositions are particularly delightful and help to establish the CD as a breakout of sorts for the New York-born, London-based chanteuse. With the expanded repertoire of this outing Kent will, I’m sure, gain appeal with cabaret, folk and funk audiences as well as jazzers.

 

On the new tour Kent and Tomlinson revamped their group bringing aboard pianist Graham Harvey, bassist Dave Chamberlain, drummer Matt Skelton and guitarist John Parricelli. These musicians contributed to a cohesion and conceptuality that held the Birdland audience spellbound. Kent’s successful understated imprimatur gains new impetus with these players (particularly Harvey) and, if anything, her tranquil deliberations acquire new dimensions. For those who can’t make it to the live performances Breakfast On The Morning Tram will provided substantial listening pleasure on your new holiday iPods.

 

-- Nick Catalano

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Singer Evoking Both Sunlight and Twilight

By STEPHEN HOLDEN

October 6, 2005

Stacey Kent has a voice as hard and bright as a diamond in sunlight. It could slice through glass. When she applied its sharpened edge to numbers like "If I Were a Bell" and "The Trolley Song" on Tuesday evening at Birdland, the shards she cut glistened like points of light reflected by a mirror ball.

But Ms. Kent, who is appearing with a jazz quartet at the club through Saturday, also has a softer twilight side.

Slipping quietly through songs like "I Got Lost in His Arms" arranged as a murmuring bossa nova, and her encore, "Star Dust," at the first of two shows, she conveyed a kittenish sweetness tinged with wistfulness.

Such contrasts define Ms. Kent, whose husband, the saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, plays the role of protector, commentator and appreciator in their musical relationship.

Several times during the show his saxophone slid in behind the singer and enfolded her in warm, embracing tones. Mr. Tomlinson's winding, circular horn phrasing comes out of the Stan Getz school of dreamy lyricism; he is an unabashed romantic. Ms. Kent, however, is a wary one; she doesn't lie still for very long.

Besides Mr. Tomlinson, the singer's quartet includes Art Hirahara on piano, Mark McLean on drums, and Ben Wolfe on bass. One of Ms. Kent's strongest groups, it finds her at ease with the drums, which has not always been the case. She tossed off Bob Dorough's tricky "Devil May Care" with an airy confidence.

Late in the set, she confessed to harboring a monthlong obsession with Cole Porter's "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," a gold digger's proclamation of undying loyalty to a sugar daddy, immortalized in 1938 by Mary Martin.

If Ms. Kent made a promising first stab at a song that is ideally suited to her coy side, she ventured only halfway into its slippery depths.

Stacey Kent continues at 9 and 11 p.m. through Saturday at Birdland, 315 West 44th Street, Clinton, (212) 581-3080.

 

 

THE NEW YORK TIMES

CABARET REVIEW; A Flirtatious Soundtrack To Romance

By STEPHEN HOLDEN

Published: Thursday, September 4, 2003

Sometimes the chemistry between musicians and the chemistry of love get all tangled up in wonderful ways. When watching the jazz singer Stacey Kent make music with her husband, the tenor saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, it is easy to imagine yourself eavesdropping on intimate pillow talk by besotted partners in a luxury suite atop some faraway pop-jazz Olympus.

On Tuesday the atmosphere was heavy with romance at the opening-night show of Ms. Kent's third engagement at the Algonquin Hotel's Oak Room, through Sept. 27. I had the illusion of Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw and Jude Law as a shy English horn player wafting across a movie screen in a music-drenched romantic comedy.

It is only recently that Ms. Kent, a native New Yorker who lives in London and is a star overseas, has started bringing American audiences up to speed. Her singular voice glides along a spectrum that runs from brittle and piercing (think of a jazzy Sandy Duncan) to a delicate whisper that trails off into a light, flirtatious vibrato (Blossom Dearie).

She has a voice that a less musically savvy performer might use as a building block for creating a cute, smiley persona, but Ms. Kent carries it in more sophisticated directions. Her stripped-down interpretations of standards reveal the lyrics with an unblinking clarity. A torch song like ''Say It Isn't So'' becomes a wistful dry-eyed response to an unpleasant wake-up call. She bares the cynicism of ''Makin' Whoopee,'' a song that under its perky, upbeat surface issues a warning about the pitfalls of a hasty marriage (''that's what you get, folks'').

Done as a silky bossa nova, with Mr. Tomlinson's saxophone winding its arms around Ms. Kent's voice, the starchy ''People Will Say We're in Love'' takes on a relaxed, erotic glow. For an engagement in which the program may vary from show to show, the drumless ensemble is filled out with Colin Oxley on guitar, Pat O'Leary on bass and Matthew Fries on piano. They swing.

Photo: Stacey Kent and Jim Tomlinson at the Algonquin Hotel's Oak Room. (Photo by Richard Termine for The New York Times)

Purchase Dreamer In Concert

Purchase Dreamer In Concert