5 Stars for Stacey Kent’s Tenderly – classic American songs, immaculately presented

By Dave Gelly for The Guardian


If, like me, you’ve been hoping that Stacey Kent would one day make another album of classic American songs, here it is at last. It’s a collaboration with the veteran Brazilian guitarist-composer-producer Roberto Menescal, who, it turns out, knows this repertoire intimately. With just two other musicians – Jim Tomlinson, on tenor saxophone and flute, and bassist Jeremy Brown – they treat songs such as “Only Trust Your Heart,” “If I’m Lucky” and the title number with the understanding and affection they deserve. Deceptively simple, and meticulously presented, each of the 12 tracks is a little gem. Kent’s soft, light voice is as persuasive as ever, and the playing is, of course, immaculate.