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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)October 24, 2003

(Mahwah) – One year after a sold-out run at the Algonquin Hotel in New York and just weeks after being featured on National Public Radio for the second time, London-based jazz singer Stacey Kent returns to her native New Jersey for a performance in the Sharp Theater at Ramapo College of New Jersey. Kent will lend her voice to the music of Cole Porter, the Gershwins and Richard Rodgers Thursday, November 20 at 8 p.m. She will be accompanied by her husband, saxophonist Jim Tomlinson.

Kent’s latest CD, The Boy Next Door (Candid Records, 2003), a tribute to the music masters she grew up with, has been on the U.S. Billboard Charts for six weeks and is the number one hit on the Amazon.com Jazz Chart. Kent wraps her voice lovingly around the classic lyrics, caressing the words sublimely, revealing an intimate understanding of phrasing and delivery,” says Billboard’s Steve Graybow.

While music critics praise Kent for her mastery of the Great American Songbook, the winner of the 2001 British Jazz Award and 2002 BBC Jazz Award for Best Vocalist is convinced she is mistaken for a nostalgic singer. I don’t think of myself as some ’30s babe in long gloves with a flower in my hair,” said Kent in an interview for the Wall Street Journal. I’m a girl who travels around the world with her laptop and her Palm Pilot, who loves the present but happens to fall for old love songs. To me those songs are utterly contemporary.”

Kent’s taste in music is eclectic. As a child, she was surrounded by music popularized by the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Ella Fitzgerald and other jazz masters. Growing up, she also listened to The Doors and Paul Simon, as well as Mozart and Ravel.

A graduate of Sarah Lawrence, Kent went to Europe to continue her language studies toward a master’s degree in comparative literature. While visiting friends at Oxford University, Kent met her future husband, Jim Tomlinson. Lacking formal music training, Kent took a chance at a graduate course in jazz performance at the Guidhall School of Music and Drama where she studied for a year.

Kent’s first demo tape won her job offers, including an appearance as the big band singer in Ian McKellen’s film version of Richard III and her first CD, Close Your Eyes, with Candid Records in 1997. Other CDs followed with the same recording company: The Tender Trap, Let Yourself Go and Dreamsville.

An interview on CBS Sunday Morning won Kent national exposure in the U.S. The singer’s 2003 concert tour includes the Espoo Festival in Finland, Wakefield Jazz in the U.K., Baden Baden ’03 in Germany, Paris FIP Broadcast in France and Ajaccio Cultural Art Centre in Corsica.

Tickets for Stacey Kent’s concert at Ramapo College are $21 for adults, $18 for seniors and $12 for students. The Sharp Theater is located at the Angelica and Russ Berrie Center for Performing and Visual Arts. For more information, call (201) 684-7844.

This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, has been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on Niche.com, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice.

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