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on December 23, 2006
Prime Cuts: I Got Lost in His Arms, The Surrey with the Fringe on Top, Jardin D'Hiver

Stacey Kent does not need to raise a ruckus to impress; her warm velvetry girlish vocals need no gimmicks to convey the subtle meaning of each tune. She has a way of unfurling the emotions of each note with her attenuated vocal inflections. However, such a treat was not the intial vision of this project when British husband Jim Tomlinoson, a tenor saxophoist in the eminent tradition of Stan Getz, wanted "The Lyric" to be his solo project. However, slowly from his wife Stacy Kent's nascant involvement, it developed into Kent handling the lion share of the vocals, tackling 11 out of 13 tracks. In hindsight, such a move has been felicitious, as together they have weaved together a masterful tapestry of contemporary jazz; a collection of well chosen standards performed in an intimate and engaging way. Further acknowledgement of the duo's arete simpatico is affirmed when this disc won the prestigious "Album of the Year" award in the 2006 BBC Jazz awards festival.

Unlike most standard albums, the songs are impeccably chosen from a panoply of sources, some of which even crossing linguistic boundaries, with others from classical musicals and the great American songbook. Most propitious is Kent's cover of the Parisian chanteuse Keren Ann's "Jardin D'Hiver." Here, Kent sings as if French is her mother tongue. When Kent deals with the ominous oeuvre of the musicals, "Surrey with the Fringe on Top," a beloved song from the musical "Oklahoma," is a glorious choice. Kent wastes no syllable of this extremely lyrically verbose song. Giving each syllable a meditatively new breadth of life, this jazz diva certainly brings out a new texture of appreciation. On Frank Sinatra's "What Are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life," Kent takes her leisure to entice and seduce assisted by her husband's consenting sensuous saxophone swirls. While on the undulating ode to romantic abandonment, "I Got Lost in His Arms" is the perfect exemplar of how Kent utilizes subtlety and inference to exude the hopelessly romantic tenor of the composition.

However, unlike her peer Diana Krall who has given herself to a completely languid late night approach on her latest CD, Kent does pick up her heels for some sassy bossa nova. Her take on South Pacific's "A Cockeyed Optimist" exudes with life and vitality. Though her girlish twirls may come across as weak, Kent ironically captures the naivety and sincerity of Cole Porter's swinging "My Heart Belongs to Daddy." On the couple of tracks without Kent, the quartet of Tomlinson, David Newton (piano), Dave Chamberlain (bass) and Matt Skelton (drums) give a breezy performance on "Manha de Carnival" and a lazy-jazz lounge feel to "Outra Vez."

Overall, the spotlight of "The Lyric" is rightly on Kent: the ingenious ways in which she woos with her vocal nuances without given to drama. Yet Kent puts in enough emotions and rumination that she does not come across as blithe or superficial. However, behind the great woman is her man--Tomlinson's spot on backing never for a moment intrude. Rather, creating just the right texture that exemplifies his wife's vocals, this shows what a marriage of like-mindedness can do. In short, when it comes to contemporary jazz, Kent and Tomlison are as deserving as the accolades they have had received.
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"Although I am an instrumentalist, I have always had a strong affinity for song. There is no more meaningful form of self-expression for me than to play a ballad with the poetry of the lyric reverberating through me and guiding me. I hope that my love of the lyric communicates itself sufficiently to justify the choice of album title." ~ Jim Tomlinson ~

"The Lyric" is one of the few but superb albums of Jim Tomlinson, a fine tenor saxophonist whose style of playing is absolutely ear-catching. He shares the spotlight with his wife and musical partner, Stacey Kent, who graciously adds classiness and freshness to the melodies with her ever-sweet and sun-kissed voice, flawless diction and beautiful-as-pink-roses-interpretations. In my book of jazz, they belong to the top list of fine singers and musicians of all-time.

Mr. Tomlinson considers this album as "their baby since it is the first album produced under his own label, and the one that they are most proud of as it is the recording that comes closest to their live collaborations." That is especially true -- this album is one of the finest ever recorded, with no frills and embellishments of a full orchestra and yet it is superbly done. It is my current enthrallment -- I've been listening non-stop for days now and it has become one of my top favorites from my collection.

The choicest cuts that will leave the listeners breathless for their raving beauties are Lerner and Loewe's "I've Grown Accustomed To His Face," Parish and Carmichael's "Stardust," and to top it all - Alan and Marilyn Bergman's "What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life?" done in the most dramatic fashion highlighting Tomlinson's sweepingly striking sax solo and Newton's beautifully sounding piano. Kent singing this verse is an exquisite musical moment...

"Through all of my life
Summer, winter, spring and fall of my life
All I ever will recall of my life
Is all of my life with you"

Lees and Jobim's "Corcovado" (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars) is one of the most charming Bossa Nova staples that Tomlimson and his bandmates David Newton (piano), Dave Chamberlain (double bass) and Matt Skelton (drums) deliver with a winning interplay that artfully blends with Kent's unique vocal prowess.

Cole Porter's "My Heart Belongs To Daddy" is such a joyous listen that would leave a smile on your face. An added allure is "Jardin D'Hiver," a melodious French song with a cozy Bossa Nova rhythm. Having lived and studied in Paris, Kent shows utmost confidence in her effortless rendition and the result is simply splendid.

Luis Bonfa's "Manha de Carnival" (Black Orpheus) is a very popular Brazilian jazz tune. On this attractive track, Tomlinson is on the center stage -- his playing is as enchanting as the ones recorded by jazz greats such as Stan Getz, Wes Montgomery, Cannonball Adderly, Ray Brown and Paul Desmond, to name a few.

Tomlinson and Kent truly bring out the best in each other. And like two of the most celebrated pairs in jazz history - Ella and Louis, and Lady Day and Pres, their partnership is defined as a magical collaboration.

Need I say more?

* * * * * TEN STARS * * * * *
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on March 4, 2007
Even with hubby in the limelight, Stacy Kent still steals the show.

Saxophone player Jim Tomlinson is Stacey Kent's partner both in a personal and a professional capacity. So, when recording his latest solo album, it was a logical step to call upon his wife's vocal talents as the cutting edge of an intimate small band set.

"The Lyric" is a wonderful journey through a selection of classic jazz standards.

Stacey Kent and Jim Tomlinson fit together hand in glove and on "My Heart Belongs To Daddy", "If I Were A Bell", "Something Happens To Me" and "Cockeyed Optimist", her sublime vocals and his lush tenor are a delight.

Stacey is relaxed, playful and has never sounded better.

The stand-out track is the lightly buttered bossa nova of Antonio Jobim's "Corcovado" which sounds as good as the famed Getz/Gilberto version from 1963.

Tomlinson also purrs through two instrumentals - Manha De Carnival and Outra Vez - like a well-fed cat. An essential purchase for all Stacey's fans.
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VINE VOICEon December 14, 2007
"The Lyric," newest release of British tenor saxophone man Jim Tomlinson, advertises that it "features" his wife, Anglo-American jazz chanteuse Stacey Kent. However, she's surely more a co-star: we hear her lovely voice on all but two of the album's tracks.

Tomlinson has credited Stan Getz as a formative musical influence, and the album, although it draws heavily from the Great American songbook, and Broadway, to some degree also follows Getz down South America way. Furthermore, it's a reminder of the musical partnership of Getz and Astrud Gilberto -- the tenor sax is close to the human voice in its range; and the Tomlinson/Kent collaborations are almost mystically, mutually interwoven.

The album, which has won "Best Vocal Album" at Ronnie Scotts Jazz Awards, and 2006 "Album of the Year" at the prestigious British Broadcasting Company's Jazz Awards, is Tomlinson's first release on his own label, Token. It takes a fresh approach to its standards, even such familiar ones as Rogers and Hammerstein's "Surrey With The Fringe on Top," and Lerner and Loewe's "I've Grown Accustomed to His Face." We also get a selection of French tunes, delivered by Kent as though she'd been born in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. Cole Porter's knowing "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," gets a clean rendition, no winks or nods. Kent has a modern, conversational, intimately whispering style well-suited to this repertory, and Tomlinson's sax always has a story to tell. The band consists of David Newton on piano, Dave Chamberlain on double bass, and Matt Skelton on drums.

I've been lucky enough to catch Kent and Tomlinson at New York's famous Algonquin Hotel. There's no question, they're working in the here and now. Still their collaborative style of music making is reminiscent of the great Lester Young and Billie Holiday, or even, to cite a contemporary, perhaps better known to Americans duo, John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey. They make beautiful music together.
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on January 13, 2007
Nuts. Hubby Jim Tomlinson and his tenor sax and percussion contributions intrude on this collection of 13 show tunes and Europen/S.American favorites sung by Stacey Kent... and Stacey is clearly the add-on.

Her redentions of show tunes are awkward and out of place. "If I Were a Bell," "Cockeyed Optimist" and "Surrey with the Fringe" are just not the kinds of tunes that Stacey can wrap that beautiful, enormously expressive and articulate voice around.

At her phenominal best on other collections, Stacey sings each song as if it were written just for her. In this collection, she sings as if she's borrowing each tune from somebody else.

Dave Newton on piano, Simon Thorpe on bass and Colin Oxley on guitar are as they have been on Stacey's other albums, superb. So is Tomlinson, when he isn't trying to push Stacey off stage.

Get your own album, Jim. Let Stacey do hers.
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on December 23, 2006
Prime Cuts: I Got Lost in His Arms, The Surrey with the Fringe on Top, Jardin D'Hiver

Stacey Kent does not need to raise a ruckus to impress; her warm velvetry girlish vocals need no gimmicks to convey the subtle meaning of each tune. She has a way of unfurling the emotions of each note with her attenuated vocal inflections. However, such a treat was not the intial vision of this project when British husband Jim Tomlinoson, a tenor saxophoist in the eminent tradition of Stan Getz, wanted "The Lyric" to be his solo project. However, slowly from his wife Stacy Kent's nascant involvement, it developed into Kent handling the lion share of the vocals, tackling 11 out of 13 tracks. In hindsight, such a move has been felicitious, as together they have weaved together a masterful tapestry of contemporary jazz; a collection of well chosen standards performed in an intimate and engaging way. Further acknowledgement of the duo's arete simpatico is affirmed when this disc won the prestigious "Album of the Year" award in the 2006 BBC Jazz awards festival.

Unlike most standard albums, the songs are impeccably chosen from a panoply of sources, some of which even crossing linguistic boundaries, with others from classical musicals and the great American songbook. Most propitious is Kent's cover of the Parisian chanteuse Keren Ann's "Jardin D'Hiver." Here, Kent sings as if French is her mother tongue. When Kent deals with the ominous oeuvre of the musicals, "Surrey with the Fringe on Top," a beloved song from the musical Oklahoma, is a glorious choice. Kent wastes no syllable of this extremely lyrically verbose song. Giving each syllable a meditatively new breadth of life, this jazz diva certainly brings out a new texture of appreciation. On Frank Sinatra's "What Are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life," Kent takes her leisure to entice and seduce assisted by her husband's consenting sensuous saxophone swirls. While on the undulating ode to romantic abandonment, "I Got Lost in His Arms" is the perfect exemplar of how Kent utilizes subtlety and inference to exude the hopelessly romantic tenor of the composition.

However, unlike her peer Diana Krall who has given herself to a completely languid late night approach on her latest CD, Kent does pick up her heels for some sassy bossa nova. Her take on South Pacific's "A Cockeyed Optimist" exudes with life and vitality. Though her girlish twirls may come across as weak, Kent ironically captures the naivety and sincerity of Cole Porter's swinging "My Heart Belongs to Daddy." On the couple of tracks without Kent, the quartet of Tomlinson, David Newton (piano), Dave Chamberlain (bass) and Matt Skelton (drums) give a breezy performance on "Manha de Carnival" and a lazy-jazz lounge feel to "Outra Vez."

Overall, the spotlight of "The Lyric" is rightly on Kent: the ingenious ways in which she woos with her vocal nuances without given to drama. Yet Kent puts in enough emotions and rumination that she does not come across as blithe or superficial. However, behind the great woman is her man--Tomlinson's spot on backing never for a moment intrude. Rather, creating just the right texture that exemplifies his wife's vocals, this shows what a marriage of like-mindedness can do. In short, when it comes to contemporary jazz, Kent and Tomlison are as deserving as the accolades they have had received.
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VINE VOICEon September 21, 2006
Most of my favorites, the greats, are dead, I'm sorry to say. San Getz is gone, as is Lester Young and Paul Desmond. The Cool Jazz sax men who knew that the best place to start is with a pleasing sound.

But Jim Tomlinson is very much alive and brings back, variously, the sound of all three! These songs have Stan the Man Getz's breathy sweet tone (without some of the fire) and Lester Young's phrasing, but also the dry martini sound of Paul Desmond. It's a pleasure to hear a new sax man who pays attention to tone! As pleasant as this album is, it is not as advertized, an album featuring the marvellous tenor sax of Jim Tomlinson. Jim has two other album of (mostly) his sax. The first two songs remind me of Getz & Astrud Gilberto.

This is a warm and pleasant album featuring his singer wife Stacey Kent. Good music, lyrical, as you should expect, but not a Jim Tomlinson album. I saw them at Blues Alley, Georgetown and he had copies of an album more than a year ago. I don't believe this is that album, which was supposed to be another jazz quartet.

So if you want to hear a good Stacey Kent album , by all means get this, if you are looking for Jim, he is here, occasionally, in the background or on the bridges. I think Jim really needs more exposure, by himself. His other albums have much more Jim Tomlinson solos.

Well recorded. I like both Jim and Stacey on their other albums. But I can't give this a higher rating, mostly because it isn't a Jim Tomlinson album. It's a good Stacey Kent album. And I'd really like to hear Jim Tomlinson by himself.
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on May 18, 2008
I recently became a fan of Stacey's and found this gem. Although ostensibly this is her husband's album, it really showcases Stacey's vocals. Jim's saxwork is almost vocal in nature, and the two together make for an album that you will play over and over. Im listening to it as I type this. Buy it...you won't regret it.
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on July 11, 2015
A favorite album from a favorite singer and band! Vocalist Stacey Kent is flawless and Jim Tomlinson captures the spirit of bosa nova and saxophonist Stan Getz to perfection.
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on October 9, 2007
If you are collectors of both Stacey Kent and Jim Tomlinson's musical output then this must be added to it. The association between the two is musically magical.
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