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The Boy Next Door

Stacey Kent

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Album Review

Wrapping her sweet voice around songs by male singers she admires, Stacey Kent delivers another pleasant and low-key album with The Boy Next Door. Kent's tribute choices range from traditional pop (Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett) to mainstream jazz instrumentalists (Dave Brubeck, Dizzy Gillespie) to the softer side of rock (James Taylor, Simon and — unmentioned in the liner notes — Garfunkel). With a gentle conviction akin to early Blossom Dearie without the cheeky flair, the album makes for breezy listening. The 16 tracks don't differ enough in tone, making the album a bit too long, but individual moments of warm openhearted excellence make it worthwhile. The sentimentality of "Bookends" or "'Tis Autumn" suit her precious delivery well, while the sly moments of "Makin' Whoopee" feel out of the singer's reach. The bandmembers stay out of the way for the most part, waiting for their solos rather than interacting much with Kent. Drummer Matt Home's light but lively style is especially accommodating and guitarist Colin Oxley's percussive take on "Too Darn Hot" ends up being the album's greatest moment.

Biography

Born: 27 March 1965 in South Orange, NJ

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

New York native Stacey Kent never anticipated a career in jazz music: she was a Sarah Lawrence graduate with a degree in comparative literature. But her childhood days spent listening to the traditional beauty of Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole undoubtedly influenced her. While on holiday in Europe after...
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The Boy Next Door, Stacey Kent
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