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Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
Music Reviews
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The Oak Room
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Stacey Kent

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 13, 2003
The Oak Room
59 West 44th Street
(btw. 5th and 6th Aves.)
New York, NY 10036
(212) 419-9331

About the Author:

Stacey Kent

Stacey Kent - vocals
Jim Tomlinson - sax
Matthew Fries - piano
Pat O'Leary - bass

Publicists and Agents: Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services
Barbara McGurn The Brad Simon Organization www.bsoinc.com

(www.staceykent.com) staceykent1@aol.com

The Oak Room, Algonquin Hotel
(www.Algonquinhotel.com) 59 West 44th St. (Bet 5th & 6th Avs.)

Review and Photos by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 13, 2003

If I had to be secluded for one month, in one single space, it would be at the Algonquin Hotel, hopefully in the Lobby. The Oak Room, lined, of course, in smooth, dark oak, with exquisite, candle lamps on each tiny table and very elegant waiters, is an experience, in itself. To then exit, after this romantic, mood-enhancing, vocal concert, to the classic Lobby of this most historic, Algonquin Hotel, where famous writers used to meet to discuss politics and literature and poetry and their social circle, was an added treat.

Photos of the Algonquin Lobby can be found, below the review, with photos of Stacey Kent, as she ended her Algonquin performances for January, 2003. Stacey Kent and her very collaborative musicians, including her husband, Jim Tomlinson, on Tenor Saxophone, Colin Oxley, on Guitar, Matthew Fries, on Piano, and Pat O'Leary, on Bass (See Pat at the Iridium Brunch) warmed up a very cold January night, with dim, warm candles, and her ever-so-warm, canary-like voice. Stacey, in her Gypsy styled, red blouse, sang some of my very favorite Standards, and I will indicate, where appropriate, how I could have danced, had there been dancing and had there been a suitable partner. Caveat: I may have the wrong titles, but, instead, significant lines, from each piece of music: "Who's Got the Last Laugh Now" opened the set, and I loved every word and every minute, of this upbeat song of strength and survival. "More Than You Know" was emotionally evocative, with Stacey's throaty and whispering rendition and the guitarist's plucking at the chords of the heart. Jim Tomlinson, on Tenor Sax, equaled her softness in his sensitive interpretation. This group performed with a sincere, honest style, the voice of love, itself. With candles and wine, this was the most melancholy interpretation I have ever heard, of one of my favorite songs.

Other songs, such as "In Love Again", "Spring Fever", "This Can't Be Love", "Falling In Love Is Wonderful", were sung with intermittent, personal and humorous asides to the audience, as Jim and Stacey looked adoringly at each other, when each was speaking or making music. Pat O'Leary was lyrical and sophisticated on this evening, with a smooth, rich bass, as backup and as melody. "Day In and Day Out" and "They Can't Take That Away From Me" were sung as ballads, with musical repartees, between the saxophone and other instruments, as well as between the bass and Colin Oxley's guitar. The bass and guitar created whispery, vibrato riffs, in a heart-rending and transporting rendition of "They Can't Take That Away From Me". To pick up the mood and the beat, with a Big Band, Swing rhythm, (very danceable) Stacey sang "I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket", "We'll Take Manhattan", and "Let Yourself Go". These musicians delight in each other's skills and play off each other's strengths. In fact, they created a very memorable solo section for piano in "Let Yourself Go", which showcased the talented Matthew Fries. The band kept very clear, strong endings to each song. "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" brought the Oak Room back to a soft, sensitive ambiance. Stacey Kent and her exceptional musicians don't just sing of love; they demonstrate love.

Stacey Kent

Stacey Kent and Friend

Stacey at Leisure

Husband and Sax Player, Jim Tomlinson, with CDs

Colin Oxley, Guitarist; Harry Allen, Friend and Visiting Saxophonist; Matthew Fries, Pianist; Friend

The Algonquin Bar

The Algonquin Bellman

The Algonquin Cat

Jim Chats about Music

Stacey Socializes

The Algonquin Lights

Stacey Basks in Adoration

Stacey with Brad Simon and Keith Ghion, Agents

Jim Tomlinson and Harry Allen

Matthew Fries, Colin Oxley, Pat O'Leary, and Friend

Jim Tomlinson and Harry Allen

Brad Simon and Stacey

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