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Stacey Kent: In Love Again

It has, I’ll admit, taken me a while to make a fully committed leap onto the Stacey Kent bandwagon. Though Kent has a terrific pop-jazz sound that bears a remarkable resemblance to the young Joanie Sommers, I wasn’t quite ready to buy into the uberhype that’s been bubbling around her. Her latest outing, In Love Again (Candid), a spirited bow to Richard Rodgers, has me convinced that the fanfare is justified. Though still more interpreter than innovator, Kent handles 13 Rodgers classics with impressive flexibility. On “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” she captures just the right sense of luxurious self-deception. Her jaunty “My Heart Stood Still” is lively, fun and ideally suited to Lorenz Hart’s love-at-first-sight lyric. Her nicely tempered “It Never Entered My Mind,” featuring a hauntingly beautiful tenor sax solo by Jim Tomlinson, is more reflective than despondent. “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair” swings with the sweet sparkle of a sly smile, and it’s refreshing to hear “Thou Swell” reinterpreted as a languid ballad. The only real disappointments are Kent’s overly perky “I Wish I Were in Love Again,” which fails to capture the subtle astringency that gives the song “Wish” its delicious sting, and a tepid “Nobody’s Heart” that suggests she’s still too young to appreciate such overwhelming romantic disillusion.

Originally Published