SINGER STACEY KENT
SIGNS WITH BLUE NOTE FRANCE WITH
BREAKFAST ON THE MORNING TRAM
ALBUM FEATURES A CHARMING MIX OF STANDARDS, POP COVERS,
FRENCH CHANSONS BY SERGE GAINSBOURG & ORIGNAL SONGS
WITH LYRICS BY ACCLAIMED JAPANESE AUTHOR KAZUO ISHIGURO
Blue Note France has signed the London-based American jazz singer Stacey Kent to an exclusive worldwide recording deal. Her Blue Note debut, Breakfast on the Morning Tram, which is a charming mix of standards, pop covers, French chansons, and original songs, will be released in the U.S. on October 2. The album was produced by Kent's husband, tenor saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, whose latest album The Lyric featured Kent's vocals, and won Best Album at the 2006
BBC Jazz Awards.
"Blue Note is the label that just feels right," says Kent. "It's the label I dreamed of as a kid. Signing with Blue Note, I feel like Steffi Graf must have felt the first time she stepped onto court to play Martina Navratilova. I've always had enormous respect for Blue Note and for the artists on the label. So many personalities and different ways of expressing music and always with such integrity and soul. To be part of this family and history is a
dream come true."
Breakfast on the Morning Tram marks Kent's return to the studio after a four-year recording hiatus. The album's title refers to the start of something new; a journey in a new direction, and takes its name from one of four new original songs-the first originals that Kent has ever recorded-that were written especially for her by Tomlinson and acclaimed author Kazuo Ishiguro, a winner of the Booker and Whitbread prizes for such literary works as The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go.
Kent's association with Ishiguro began in 2002 when he named her recording of "They Can't Take That Away From Me" from the album Let Yourself Go as one of his choices on the BBC Radio show Desert Island Classics. Subsequently, he wrote the liner notes for Kent's album In Love Again. Ishiguro's understanding of her art gave her the idea that he would be the ideal lyricist for her and thus, along with Tomlinson, they began collaborating on songs for her debut Blue Note debut including "The Ice Hotel," "I Wish I Could Go Travelling Again," "So Romantic," and the title track.
"Nothing has ever been quite so exciting as having songs written especially for me by two people I admire so much. Both Jim and Kazuo Ishiguro seem to understand me so implicitly that it seems as though I have always known their songs," says Kent. "Kazuo's lyrics are like short stories and don't follow conventional song forms. Jim's melodies seem to capture the mood of the lyrics perfectly. The musical worlds they create just knock me out!"
Having lived and studied in Paris, like her grandfather before her, Kent grew up steeped in French music and literature. She has always felt a tremendous connection between herself and her audiences, but she feels a special connection with her French fans. Her 2003 album The Boy Next Door reached Gold status in France and her new album includes two of her favourite French songs by celebrated songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, "Ces Petits Riens" and "La Saison
Kent also has a love of cinema which comes through in her repertoire. "Samba Saravah" comes from the film Un Homme et Une Femme by French director Claude Lelouch. Similarly, "Hard Hearted Hannah" was inspired by Ella Fitzgerald's famous version in the movie, Pete Kelly's Blues. These light-hearted, playful songs capture the sense of fun that Kent conveys, especially in her
Though Kent is steeped in the Great American Songbook, she also loves American folk and pop music. Both she and Tomlinson play the guitar and sing, finding inspiration in the mountains of Colorado where they vacation, so it was fitting that they include a stunning version of the beautiful Fleetwood Mac song "Landslide," which was written by Stevie Nicks in Aspen.
Even through the bittersweet, an unyielding optimism underpins Kent's interpretations. "What a Wonderful World", "So Many Stars," and "Never Let Me Go" are ideal vehicles for her delicate balance of joie de vivre with her understanding of how to temper sadness. Joy and pain go hand in hand in her music.
"The subjects that I want to sing about have broadened," she says. "I am older and have had more life experiences. So naturally, I want to find a way to bring that into my music. I feel secure enough to be able to sing the songs that are quite simply me. As the lyrics to 'Landslide' sagaciously utter, 'time makes you bolder, even chidren get older.' I can balance romance and realism in a more realistic
and mature way."
"I am very proud to present this first album with my new band. The last year has been one of exciting musical growth and I feel that we have captured that [growth] on this album. A huge part of the fun in being a musician for me is that I get to grow and go on this musical journey with Jim. We are sharing our life experiences through the music."
"There are some recurrent themes on this album; traveling (both literally and metaphorically), making choices, and renewal seem to be the big three-and all are acutely personal. They were not consciously chosen but they were certainly at play in my subconscious when selecting the repertoire for the album. And the title track, 'Breakfast On The Morning Tram,' serves as an umbrella for these themes more than any other song.
Blue Note France has signed the London-based American jazz singer Stacey Kent to an exclusive worldwide recording deal. Her Blue Note debut, Breakfast on the Morning Tram, which is a charming mix of standards, pop covers, French chansons, and original songs, will be released in the U.S. on October 2. The album was produced by Kent's husband, tenor saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, whose latest album The Lyric featured Kent's vocals, and won Best Album at the 2006 BBC Jazz Awards.
7 New "ON" 137 "Total Stations/Shows"
SYND: Music Of Your Life, Radio Deluxe, Bloomberg Radio, VOA, Anything Goes, Jazz With Bob Parlocha, PRI:Jazz After Hours Direct: XM: On Broadway/High Standards Markets Include: New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Minneapolis, Miami, Atlanta, St. Louis, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Denver, Milwaukee, Orlando, Las Vegas, Salt Lake, Albuquerque, Raleigh NC, Madison WI, Columbus OH