Coming October 2019 pre-order your copy today! Orders with both pre-order and in stock items will have all in stock items shipped immediately!
180g High Quality Pressing!
Re-mastering by Ray Staff at Air Mastering!
Released in 1997, Close Your Eyes was Stacey Kent's debut album and features
David Newton on piano, Jim Tomlinson on tenor saxophone, Colin Oxley on guitar,
Andrew Cleyndert on double bass, and Steve Brown on drums.
"It was one day in 1996 when a demo set turned up in my BBC post-bag, one of
many that I receive in my capacity of jazz radio presenter. The singer’s name,
Stacey Kent, was new to me, and the cassette sat on my desk for weeks taunting
my conscience until, faced with a long car, I gathered it up with a variety of
other tapes and transferred it to my car. On the road, it happened to be the
first tape I picked up from the heap on the passenger seat – and the last. The
singing held me riveted for the rest of the outgoing journey and throughout the
return trip the next day. Now the invitation to write a note for this debut
album calls upon me to analyze the cause of this rush of enthusiasm to the head.
"Let’s start with the “feel”. Stacey Kent grew up in New York, exposed to the
music of Frank Sinatra, Nat “King” Cole, and the jazz masters of the Swing Era.
Before she thought of adopting a singing career, she had come to love the
repertoire of American popular song, much of which had been established decades
before she was born. And it shows in every note she sings.
"The next stage in my analysis leads me to “style”, that elusive quality which
identifies an artist’s handling of the subject matter. Many popular songs
through the ages have survived as “standards” largely through the attention of
jazz or jazz-influenced performers. To appreciate Stacey’s command of style,
listen to “Day in, Day Out” and hear the natural ease with which she varies the
recurring pattern of the song’s title.
"Swing, elegant variation, impeccable pitch and diction – these are all the
stock in-trade of an accomplished jazz singer, and to combine them all is an
achievement in itself. What makes Stacey Kent so remarkable is her “sound”. The
voice itself is an impressive instrument, in pitch and timbre coming closer to
Mildred Bailey than to her acknowledged idols, Billie Holiday and Ella
Fitzgerald. Strong and clear, it has the invigorating tang of Vermouth.
"Of course, all the magic hitherto described could be subverted by inappropriate
or insensitive accompaniment.
Stacey is richly served by her quintet here. The partnership between her voice
and Jim Tomlinson’s tenor saxophone is sublime. The latter captures the spirit
rather than the substance of Lester Young, whose way it was, not to expand a
tune with complex harmonic exploration, but to probe for the essence of it.
Listening to Jim’s solos such as in “Sleep Warm”, the irrelevant padding, no
pressing need to launch into paraphrase until the moment is ripe.
"So perfect is the integration of the group as a whole that, as a rhythm section
David Newton, Colin Oxley, Andy Cleyndert and Steve Brown respond with faultless
sensitivity, born of experience, to the mood of each song. Solos everywhere are
of the highest class, with “Dream Dancing” especially evoking intoxicating stuff
from piano and guitar. For me, nothing sums up the rapport and cohesion of the
team more concisely than the warmly relaxed Bossa nova treatment of “Close Your
Eyes” - a shameless exercise in group seduction.
"I can’t conceive of a more auspicious debut than this." - Humprey Lyttelton
"The demos, which arrived unannounced, became a champion of this New
Jersey-born jazz singer. You can hear why, as she works through 11 less covered
selections from the Great American Songbook, remarking in a Billboard interview
'With this album, I was trying to give a mixture of the things that people know
and gems that got lost, songs that might get missed out of the great standard
repertoire'. Wow, did it pay off." - Ken Kessler, Hi-Fi News, September
2019, Sound Quality: 90%
• Double LP
• 180g Vinyl
• Re-mastering by Ray Staff at Air Mastering, Lyndhurst Hall, London
Stacey Kent, vocals
Jim Tomlinson, saxophone
Colin Oxley, guitar
David Newton, piano
Andrew Cleyndert, bass
Steve Brown, drums
1. More Than You Know
2. Dream Dancing
3. There's No You
4. There's A Lull In My Life
5. It's Delovely
6. Close Your Eyes
1 I'm Old Fashioned
2. You Go To My Head
3. Little White Lies
4. Sleep Warm
5. Day In - Day Out
Recorded at Curtis Schwartz Studios, Sussex England on November 18 & 19, 1996