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Let Yourself Go: Celebrating Fred Astaire
     

Let Yourself Go: Celebrating Fred Astaire

3.5 2
by Stacey Kent
 

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In his imperishable films, Fred Astaire introduced some of the finest songs that such immortal composers as George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, and Arthur Schwartz could provide, including "A Fine Romance," "By Myself," "They All Laughed," "Let Yourself Go," and "They Can't Take That Away from Me." Like Astaire, vocalist Stacey Kent knows how to make a big

Overview

In his imperishable films, Fred Astaire introduced some of the finest songs that such immortal composers as George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, and Arthur Schwartz could provide, including "A Fine Romance," "By Myself," "They All Laughed," "Let Yourself Go," and "They Can't Take That Away from Me." Like Astaire, vocalist Stacey Kent knows how to make a big impression without breaking a sweat. On her tribute to Hollywood's greatest song-and-dance man, Kent displays an easy way with classic repertoire, the same comfortable swing and intimate approach that endeared her to fans of her earlier albums, Close Your Eyes and The Tender Trap. Kent's slightly nasal tone and low- volume delivery impart an unassuming, yet utterly winning, personality to the entire project, one that her British band is perfectly in tune with. (Special kudos go to Jim Tomlinson, whose Stan Getz-like tenor solos add even more luster to the Astaire anthems). Kent knows how to extract the delicious humor in exquisitely-crafted songs like "Isn't This a Lovely Day," "Let Yourself Go," and "I Won't Dance," as well as the subtle pathos of "I Guess I'll Have to Change my Plan" and "By Myself." Kent seemed to come out of nowhere, but Let Yourself Go confirms that she's here to stay.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Dave Nathan
Let Yourself Go is an exceptional collection of 13 tunes written by the cream of popular song writers -- Berlin, Gershwin Brothers, and others -- honoring Fred Astaire's contributions to the vocal art. With his low key, narrow ranged voice, Astaire probably introduced and/or made popular more songs that were destined to become standard entries in the Great American Songbook than any other artist. Kent delivers this selective play list with one of three musical combinations, just piano, with piano plus rhythm, and with a larger aggregation which includes sax and guitar. Irrespective of the instrumental context, all of the tunes are delivered with Stacey's pleasant nasal twang to help her create the impression that the lyrics she's singing are part of an intimate one on one conversation with each listener. There's nothing over dramatic on this album. No gimmicks, just a voice as engaging as any on the scene conveying the meaning of a melody in the tradition of the person she is honoring, the inestimable Astaire. Kent's pianist, David Newton, is one of the premiere accompanists in the U.K., having worked with such top flight singers as Tina May. He and Kent display their musical attraction to each other on a relaxed, suave rendition of "Isn't This a Lovely Day" and "They Can't Take That Away From Me," where Kent and Newton gently joust as they deliver an elegant rendition of this tune. "Relaxed" is as good a word as any to describe the atmosphere for this session. There's nothing frenetic here. "S'Wonderful," usually performed at a fast pace, gets a languid, medium tempo treatment with Newton's piano, an effortlessly lilting Colin Oxley guitar and Jim Tomlinson's tenor sharing the mike with Kent. "A Fine Romance" is about as upbeat as it gets, with Oxley's cleaned line guitar setting the pace. Newton engages in a bit of Erroll Garner-like humming during his solo on this tune. Tomlinson's romantic tenor is featured on "Let Yourself Go" and "They All Laughed." On "One for My Baby," he brings out his clarinet, using the middle register to help create the proper melancholy mood for this definitive "drowning my sorrows in booze" tune. In addition to providing more than 50 minutes of musical entertainment, the liner notes set out the lyrics for each tune. This is another excellent album by American born, U.K.-based singer Stacey Kent, and is happily recommended.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/28/2000
Label:
Candid Records
UPC:
0708857976423
catalogNumber:
79764
Rank:
78173

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Stacey Kent   Primary Artist,Vocals
David Newton   Piano
Simon Thorpe   Bass
Colin Oxley   Guitar
Jim Tomlinson   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Steve Brown   Drums

Technical Credits

George Gershwin   Composer
Irving Berlin   Composer
Jimmy McHugh   Composer
Harold Arlen   Composer
Alan Bates   Executive Producer
Jerome Kern   Composer
Dorothy Fields   Composer
Ira Gershwin   Composer
Oscar Hammerstein   Composer
Otto Harbach   Composer
Arthur Schwartz   Composer
Curtis Schwartz   Engineer
Stacey Kent   Arranger
Jim Tomlinson   Arranger,Producer
Simon Woolf   Arranger

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Let Yourself Go: Celebrating Fred Astaire 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There are some wonderful selections here, like ''They All Laughed,'' and ''I'm Putting All my Eggs in One Basket,'' and Kent's voice is different but has a very cabaret quality. If you want to here a new take on some great old classics, you may be interested.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ms Kents voice should be irritating and tiresome, but by the magic of music it is transformed into soft breezes and spring rain. Fred Astaire wasn't a great singer and he made these melodies into standards. Ms Kent adds her own distinctive touch. She boldly takes on Frank's One For My Baby and makes it her own, maybe even improves on perfection. This is a CD for cold winter nights. Start a fire, turn out the lights, grab something strong and steamy to drink and let yourself go. Bring a friend. With Ms Kent in the background blowing sweet and low you might just think of a way to make it till morning. Buy this CD. It's the right thing to do