Carol Kidd & Nigel Clark: Tell Me Once Again

Since launching her career in the mid-’80s, Scottish vocalist Carol Kidd has earned plaudits from Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Tony Bennett. In 1990, Sinatra invited her to open for him in Glasgow and subsequently declared her “the best-kept secret in British jazz.” The Brits, and about two-thirds of the globe-particularly Asia, where she is a major star, on par with Michael Bublé and Diana Krall-have embraced her. Yet, after nearly a dozen albums, her secret status persists on this side of the pond.

What American listeners are missing out on is an exceptional talent whose phrasing mirrors the clarity and precision of Streisand and whose interpretive skills are perhaps unrivaled. There is an enticing vulnerability about Kidd, an emotional openness that is particularly effective across these dozen tracks, all focused on wistful romantic musings. Kidd’s longtime guitarist Nigel Clark, providing solo accompaniment, gorgeously enhances the pensive mood.

The exquisite tenderness of their kinship extends from the gentle ache of “Once in a While” and “The Shadow of Your Smile” to the muted acquiescence of Jerry Herman’s “He Won’t Send Roses” (originally written from a male perspective as “I Won’t Send Roses” and, possibly for the first time, retold from the woman’s viewpoint). And Kidd also makes her debut as a lyricist, crafting with Clark the sweetly reflective title track. Written after the sudden loss of her partner, John, it explores the warm afterglow of their long relationship.