What makes Stacey Kent so damn addictive is that I can enjoy the art of reinterpreation and the craft of enunciation simultaneously. Out of her nine albums, which being shuffled frequently on my iPhone, In Love Again stands out as an exceptional reimagination of Richard Rodgers’ music.
With her fresh approach, relaxed technique and warm intimacy, Kent has managed to escape the shadow of great jazz singers before her like Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday who had put their own signiture on Rodgers’ composition. Kent comes out swinging in such an easy-going manner on “Shall We Dance?” then retreats to late-night sophistication on “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.”
Her mood swings up again on “My Heart Stood Still” and then quickly settles down on the sensational “It Never Entered My Mind.” The rare gem and my personal favorite on the songbook has to be the playful “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair.” She skillfully makes the transition from light swing to dark blues and the quintet, which made up of her husband and tenor saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, guitarist Colin Oxley, pianist Dave Newton, bassist Simon Thorpe and drummer Jasper Kviberg, knows exactly what to do behind her.
While the melodies and the lyrics are familiar, Kent makes them sound new again simply by singing from her heart and soul. In Love Again can be summed up in one line and she has done so flawlessly: “It’s easy to remember, but so hard to forget.”