Birdland, NYC, July 5, 2016
Reviewed by Peter Haas for Cabaret Scenes
With quiet joy and a contagious affection for the songs she sings, Stacey Kent returned to Birdland at the beginning of July for a holiday week-long engagement, showcasing her gentle, lilting music making. In a show aptly called Tenderly, she mixed American popular classics with her growing repertoire of Brazilian numbers to produce a colorful palette of song.
With a constant smile in her voice, Kent saluted the American songbook with such numbers as Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “People Will Say We’re in Love” and “Happy Talk,” Ray Noble’s sweet classic, “The Very Thought of You,” and “That’s All” by Alan Brandt and Bob Haymes—plus an original number, “Make It Up,” by her musical director and husband, Jim Tomlinson, writing with Cliff Goldmacker. Stacey’s and Jim’s affectionate and musical partnership was much in evidence with their performance of “Ice Palace,” with him featured on alto sax and backed by strong work by the band.
Kent’s strength, and what has set her apart from other singers, is her repertoire of international numbers, with an emphasis on those with Brazilian flavor. Much in evidence was the lilting work of Antonio Carlos Jobim, with such numbers as “Photograph” (English lyrics: Ray Gilbert), “Estrada da Sol” (co-writer Dolores Duran) and “One Note Samba” (co-writer Newton Mendonca). And it was Jobim whose work closed the show, with Kent bowing off with the favorite “Águas de Março” (“The Waters of March”). Watch for the return of Stacey and Jim to Birdland later this year.