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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



The Lyric

featuring Stacey Kent

Token 0501



1. Manha de Carnival
2. Corcovado
3. I’ve Grown Accustomed to his Face
4. If I Were a Bell
5. I Got Lost in his Arms
6. What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?
7. Cockeyed Optimist
8. My Heart Belongs to Daddy
9. The Surrey with the Fringe on Top
10. Outra Vez
11. Jardin d’Hiver
12. Something Happens to Me
13. Stardust
Jim Tomlinson – Tenor sax and percussion
David Newton – Piano
Dave Chamberlain – Bass
Matt Skelton – Drums
Stacey Kent – (tracks 2-9, 11-13) Vocals and whistling

      This CD appears under the name of tenor-saxist Jim Tomlinson and it’s his first album as leader for four years. However, it seems to be monopolised by Jim’s wife, Stacey Kent. She sings on all but two of the tracks and Jim is undeservedly sidelined. On most tracks he only gets to play one chorus – usually between Stacey’s opening and closing choruses – and then he tends to fade into the background or disappear altogether.

      This is a pity, because Jim is a fine saxophonist who deserves his own showcase. You can hear just how fine he is on the opening track. Sure, he sounds a lot like Stan Getz but that’s no bad thing, as the result is a lovely mellow sound and some supple, fluent improvisation. David Newton’s piano is also heard to advantage here – in fact, his playing is a constant delight throughout the album. But why, on this bossa-nova, does the bassist play a stodgy two-in-a-bar, which hardly keeps the rhythm moving forward?

      Stacey Kent’s vocals dominate the next eight tracks – in her trademark style of gentle breathiness. It is all very professional and pleasant, although more variety might be introduced if she and Jim occasionally let loose with a bit more punch. Most of the music is exquisitely tasteful but also very buttoned-up: well-suited to the lounge bar but maybe a bit too laid-back for the jazz club. If I Were a Bell provides a bit more wellie, with a bluesy solo from Dave Newton.

      Jim Tomlinson has been very generous in promoting his wife’s career rather than his own, but the two of them are, in their own way, equal talents – so it would be nice if Jim got more exposure in his own right. And if he continues to emulate Stan Getz, it would be good to hear him injecting some of the Getzian passion that we heard on such albums as Stan’s Focus (1961) or Live in Paris (1995).

      Tony Augarde

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