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Lisa Stansfield: Swing

Those lucky enough to have caught Lisa Stansfield’s star turns on modern pop tributes to Cole Porter (Red, Hot + Blue) and George Gershwin (The Glory of Gershwin) won’t be a bit surprised by the captivating big band smack of Swing -the exhilarating motion picture soundtrack. The rest of the listening populace will quickly learn why the British soulstress (known for hits like “You Can’t Deny It” and “All Woman”) is simply one of the best song interpreters on the modern scene-in any genre. Stansfield’s powerful, emotive alto is perfectly suited to the brassy, retro-’40s style, building to a palpable joy on “The Best Is Yet to Come,” relishing the sharp-edged lyrics and dynamics of “Mack the Knife,” and bouncing playfully through “Ain’t Nobody Here but Us Chickens.” Several originals (penned by Stansfield and producer/hubby Ian Devaney) here augment the standards and succeed in capturing the giddy romance of the swing era: “Why Do We Call It Love,” layers Benny Goodman-styled hopping drums and walking bass under a seductive whisper-growl vocal package, and “I Thought That’s What You Liked About Me” (featuring a crooning male vocal change-of-pace from Georgie Fame) has a carefree, lilting swing. Though the soundtrack also includes noirish score snippets (composed by Devaney), the album clearly belongs to Stansfield, who raises the roof with her exuberant, literate vocals.

Originally Published