Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 3, No. 5, 2004

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Tommy Emmanuel
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Susie Arioli
Coral Egan
Diana Krall
Stacey Kent

Montreal Jazz Festival 2005

Stacey Kent







Piano Keyboard


by Robert J. Lewis

Featured artist: STACEY KENT
© Hans Kumpf

For the 2004 version of the Montreal Jazz Festival, Dianne Reeves, in Place des Arts, drew an enthusiastic crowd of 2000. The following day, in a much smaller venue, Stacey Kent drew 200, after which, “I said to myself, get a hold of yourself,” something isn’t right here.

OK. Reeves is blessed with a voice that is richer than non-hydrogenated Becel and a range that begins in the depths of the Grand Canyon and soars to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Her vocal acrobatics – not to be confused with singing -- comprised of breathtaking ascensions and descensions, are the stuff that causes jaws to drop, while her trio, anchored by lyrically gifted bassist James Genus, played circles around Stacey’s competent but rather static quartet.

But when it comes to getting deep into the unsuspected depths of the lyric, Stacey Kent -- with all due respect to Diana, Nora and Cassandra -- stands in shadow of no one’s smile.

Stacey’s uncommon gift is her small, exquisitely clear, cozy and vulnerable voice that communicates in a big way (much like Chet Baker’s), and lends itself perfectly to the standards, especially the ballads she doesn’t do enough of: those signature-intimate confessions that are whispered to small audiences that come to have their hurts and regrets revealed to them. Her mostly impeccable phrasing belies the fact that she is still too young to have seen and done it all, which is the best reason to catch her live, where her charm, that combines a love of making music of the music she loves, is nothing less than note-perfectly infectious.

Her 6th album, The Boy Next Door, 2003, includes Say It Isn’t So, I Got It Bad, and Paul Simon’s Bookends.

Listen to Stacey sing Gordon and Revel’s endearing THERE'S A LULL IN MY LIFE


Postscript: Six months later, at The Spectrum (Montreal), the inspired lyricism of saxophonist Jim Tomlinson forces me to retract my initial quasi-pan of the band.

John Coltrane
Miles Davis
Thelonius Monk
Charlie Mingus
Oscar Peterson
Charlie Parker
Dizzy Gillespie
Wes Montgomery
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