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Close Your Eyes

4.8 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The debut album from the ex-patriot American singer (she lives in England) harkens comparisons with the Ella Fitzgerald's impeccable style, but Kent is forging ground that she can call her own. Her delivery and attack of a note is spot on, her performances are exciting and vivacious. Stacey Kent has a very appealing voice, and her delivery is full of joy, enthusiasm and subtle creativity. Sticking mostly to veteran standards (only Sleep Warm was written after the 1950s), Kent sounds delightful while joined by a fine mainstream quintet. Jim Tomlinson contributes some tenor solos reminiscent in tone of Stan Getz, and pianist David Newton and guitarist Colin Oxley also get some solo space. When originally released in 1997, this CD garnered huge international acclaim, including appearances on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR's Morning Edition, BBC Radio and reviews in every major paper in the U.S. and the U.K.

Review

...Her instrument is girlish but strong, plaintive but warm. It's the kind of voice you'd like to get to know better. With a great selection of standards, a tasty quintet of British sidemen, and a voice to stimulate daydreams, Stacey Kent turns in one of the finest vocal debuts in years. She's got that certain intangible that separates Nat 'King' Cole from brother Freddy and Frank Sinatra from Frank Jr. That's not to say Kent is in league with the legends but she's got some of the important ingredients: namely, style and swing (not to mention perfect pitch). Listen to her timing on the uptempo numbers such as I'm Old Fashioned or <i.It's Delovely. Check out her unadorned honesty on a ballad (You Go to My Head). She's in complete and delightful control and the listener is in for an enchanting spell. --Jonathan Eig, JAZZIZ, November 1997

When a seasoned commentator such as Humphrey Lyttelton describes a singer's voice as ''strong and clear'', with the ''invigorating tang of Vermouth'' and talks about the first bars of her opening song ''quivering with electricity,'' it is only sensible to sit up and take notice. Stacey Kent, New York-raised but now resident in the UK, more than justifies such praise. Backed by a supremely sympathetic band, including David Newton on piano and Jim Tomlinson on tenor, she is at her best on the confessional ballad, where her extraordinary fluttering vibrato imbues everything she sings with affecting poignancy. But she is clearly thoroughly at home, too, with the popular songbook, and her debut album demands to be heard by anyone who relishes great songs beautifully sung. --CP, JAZZWISE Magazine, CD of the Month, June 1997
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 31, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Candid Records
  • ASIN: B00003004Q
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,426 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Sometimes you get surprised. A while ago I was in purchasing an addition to the stereo system and the salesman demo'd using a Stacey Kent CD. My jaw dropped. Instantly.
I honestly don't remember which CD, so I gambled and picked up 'Close Your Eyes'. I've heard (and own) Diana Krall and Holly Cole (both great), considered Jane Monheit (jury is still out for me), occasionally delve into the coolness of Patricia Barber, but I gotta tell ya, Stacey doesn't have to take a back seat to any of these. There is this hard-to-define "something" in her voice and approach to the song that makes one stop dead in their tracks and go "whoa". Maybe the other reviewers can identify it. I'm not sure it's something definable in print.
As for the CD, I'll admit to liking the vocalist + quartet/quintent approach used on this album more than the typical singer + trio approach. Vocally, Stacey isn't as 'whispery' a stylist as, say, Diana Krall, but I like them both quite a bit for different reasons. Diana tends to be a bit more intimate and dreamy, Stacey a bit brighter and flirty. Both excellent, but very different sounds.
Staceys' sidemen just swing the house down, especially her pianist David Newton, and although I usually am not a big tenor sax fan, I certainly am on this one, with utterly superb work from Jim Tomlinson (who reminds me strongly of Stan Getz). Add in solid drumming, rhythm guitar and bass playing from cats who can hold their own with most anybody, top it off with a shimmering, gorgeous, uniquely styled & perfectly pitched voice, and you have a winner. After a few listens, I now must say this CD goes in my "stranded on an island" collection without any doubts.
If you're a fan of the aforementioned singers, you seriously need to check this one out. Highly, highly recommended.
(Recording quality is pretty good too, very natural and unforced.)
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Format: Audio CD
I purchased this CD on a 1998 trip to England, having been enthralled with Ms. Kent's voice since seeing her in "Richard III". This is a wonderful collection of songs by the likes of Cole Porter and Johnny Mercer, alternating between soulful numbers like "More Than You Know" and lighter pieces like "Its Delovely". Ms. Kent handles them all with consummate skill, and is backed by a sharp ensemble including her husband, Jim Tomlinson, on saxophone, and a fine guitarist, Colin Oxley. This is beautiful music.
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Format: Audio CD
I am overjoyed to finally find this CD, and thanks to Amazon for making it available. I first saw Stacey Kent's feature story on CBS This Morning earier this year, and was enraptured by her singing. I am a Diana Krall also fan and I feel Stacey can reach her level of popularty very easily. One this CD, she covers Cole Porter's "It's Delovely" which is the first time a singer has done such a great job to make me finally like this song. Another Cole Porter song "Dream Dancing" is covered and I really enjoy that version also. I don't know if CD's wear out like my old LP collection, but I'm going to have to get a couple copies of this to share with friends for Holiday gifts, and another copy for my commute. I hope she tours the US in 2000, I'll be excited to see her show when it comes to Los Angeles. RECOMMENDED CD !
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Format: Audio CD
Stacey was born and raised in New York but moved to London and it was there that she embarked on a career as a jazz singer. Stacey is now a major name in British jazz and a new album release from her is always something to look forward to. Stacey claims Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Mildred Bailey among her influences, but her voice is more like Mildred's than the other two.
This debut album is a great showcase for Stacey's talents, with plenty of great covers of standards from the Great American Songbook, on which Stacey is backed by some of the finest musicians on the British jazz scene. Among the classics (mainly ballads) on this album are two Cole Porter songs (Dream dancing, It's de-lovely) and two co-written by Johnny Mercer (I'm old-fashioned, Day in day out), together with six other excellent songs. Stacey interprets the songs her way - superbly.
Experts will tell you that Stacey has perfected her craft with subsequent albums, but by my reckoning there really wasn't all that much room for improvement. This is a great jazz vocal album.
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Format: Audio CD
This album is a must have to any jazz collection. Stacey Kent has a viberant voice to bring the jazz standards back to popularity. Her soulful sound is stimulating and carries the emotion of every syllable, whether playful or romantic.
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Format: Audio CD
"What makes Stacey Kent so remarkable is her "sound" -- the word usually applied to jazz instrumentalists to encompass tone quality and the manipulation of it. 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." ~ Humphrey Lyttelton ~

I have enjoyed Stacey Kent's impressive CDs with repeated listening over the years. And I have written reviews for such CDs, but it dawned on me that I haven't written one for her most significant album of all-time, her gorgeous debut album, "Close Your Eyes." So it's only fair to write a review on this one.

Humphrey Lyttelton perfectly said it - all the strong points of Stacey Kent that makes her a jazz singer extraordinaire. And this debut CD proves it all. In June of 1997, it became the "CD of the Month" for Jazzwise, the leading and biggest-selling jazz magazine in Britain. This album promises a lovely listening adventure with its ten classic standards in the repertoire starting off with a dreamy rendition of a meaningful song, "More Than You Know," which highlights an enchanting guitar work of Colin Oxley, down to the last track, "Day In Day Out," an engaging light swing number.

The title track "Close Your Eyes" has a warm and cozy Bossa Nova rhythm that makes it so charming and pleasing to my appreciative ears. Jim Tomlinson's elegant sax playing is so magical and a pleasure to listen to. And same is true with the exceptional musicianship of the rest of her quintet - Colin Oxley (guitar), David Newton (piano), Andrew de Jong Cleyndert (bass) and Steve Brown (drums).

The swinging side of Ms.
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