As Time Goes By is Alfie Boe’s tenth studio album and his first solo disc in four years, having hit a sweet spot with his recent collaborations with Michael Ball which saw them take home two Classic BRIT Awards this year. But he moves here to reclaim the solo spotlight with a record that celebrates the music of the 30s and 40s.
That it does remarkably well, as Boe reins much of the booming power of his powerful tenor to allow colour and character into his vocal performance. And with Gordon Goodwin and his Big Phat Band providing sensational musical accompaniment throughout, this is a music lover’s tribute to an era which doesn’t always get the attention it deserves.
There’s moody feeling on the likes of ‘My Funny Valentine’ and ‘I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance’, tender romance on trips through classics like ‘La Vie En Rose’ and ‘The Way You Look Tonight’, some gorgeous duetting too on a beautifully relaxed ‘Stompin’ At The Savoy (with Kara Tointon) and a twinkling ‘A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square’ (with Dreamgirls’ Brennyn Lark).
But its the raw energy of songs like ‘Sing Sing Sing’ that get the pulse racing (seriously, it’ll make you want to go and see some live big band right that minute). So too with the third duet of the album, with Kelsey Grammer on a cracking ‘Minnie The Moocher’, there’s real confidence in a singer who is unafraid to let his band take the limelight so often and it is certainly not misplaced here.
So As Time Goes By makes for a hugely enjoyable listen, infused with passion and a thrilling musicality that should see it stuffed into many a stocking come 25 December.