Stacey is richly served by her quintet here. The partnership between her voice and Jim Tomlinson’s tenor saxophone is sublime. The latter captures the spirit rather than the substance of Lester Young, whose way it was, not to expand a tune with complex harmonic exploration, but to probe for the essence of it. Listening to Jim’s solos such as in “Sleep Warm”, the irrelevant padding, no pressing need to launch into paraphrase until the moment is ripe. So perfect is the integration of the group as a whole that, as a rhythm section David Newton, Colin Oxley, Andy Cleyndert and Steve Brown respond with faultless sensitivity, born of experience, to the mood of each song.
Solos everywhere are of the highest class, with “Dream Dancing” especially evoking intoxicating stuff from piano and guitar. For me, nothing sums up the rapport and cohesion of the team more concisely than the warmly relaxed bossa nova treatment of “Close Your Eyes” - a shameless exercise in group seduction. I can’t conceive of a more auspicious debut than this. Humprey Lyttelton. Produced by Elliot Meadow
All arrangements by Jim Tomlinson except Dream Dancing by Colin Oxley
Recorded at Curtis Schwartz Studios, Sussex England on November 18 & 19, 1996. Recording Engineer: Curtis Schwartz. Gatefold sleeve.