Beguiling singer Stacey Kent is a New Jersey native but also a longtime Francophile. Thus her new album, released this week in the U.S.: Raconte-moi..., which means "tell me," a French-language collection of sly, sophisticated tunes that blur the line between Kent's trademark subtle jazz balladry and classic French chanson. Kent will never knock you out with the power of her pipes. Instead, she relies on an array of other charms, especially elegant phrasing and a jewel-like, insinuating voice that excels at etching tricky emotions like wistfulness. Also key are smart arrangements—often courtesy of her husband/producer/reed player Jim Tomlinson—that help her roam from Ellington and Cole Porter to Paul Simon and Bobby Troup. Raconte-moi... has a late-night Montmartre cabaret feel, drawing on a repertoire of both classic and contemporary French songwriters, including Paul Misraki, Henri Salvador, Benjamin Biolay, and Camille D'Avril, whose "Sait-On Jamais" was written with Tomlinson. Kent does a diaphanous version of Georges Moustaki's French reworking of Jobim's "Águas de Março." And there's an exquisite reading, en français, of the Rodgers & Hammerstein standard "It Might As Well Be Spring," laced with a nice Tomlinson alto sax solo. $35 at 7 p.m.; $25 at 9:30 p.m.
Mon., June 7, 2010