Edinburgh Jazz Festival

Kandace Springs

Spiegeltent George Square

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Rob Adams

four stars

IT IS easy to hear how Blue Note Records signed Kandace Springs after company president Don Was heard just one song. Springs didn’t actually sing the song in question, I Can’t Make You Love Me, on this second night of her Edinburgh visit, but there were numerous others that would surely have had a similar effect.

Her voice seems to glide weightlessly through even the more challenging songs in her repertoire, such as Mal Waldron’s Soul Eyes, probably better known as saxophone ballad played to ultra-alluring effect by John Coltrane but here delivered complete with Waldron’s lyrics, and her singing on The Nearness of You and Lush Life was naturally seductive and free of artifice.

Jazz standards were just one facet of a set-list that sounded like the wild-haired Springs had her iPod on shuffle, in a good way. Switching between Fender Rhodes and concert grand, she roamed across solo piano jazz, showing considerable chops on Oscar Peterson’s Art Tatum-esque Chicago Blues, southern soul, the pop balladry of Judie Tzuke’s Place to Hide and bossa nova, with occasional Chopin references and fun vamps on gospel singer Shirley Caesar’s recently revived sermon-song, Hold My Mule’s “beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes” refrain.

Good on her rhythm team, bassist Jesse Bielenberg and drummer Dillon Treacy, for making these stylistic changes with her and for making what might be her future forte, her own songs, groove so attractively. For the moment, though, and in the main, she’s a lovely interpreter, as well as an endearingly indiscreet entertainer who just might be turning a new audience on to the magic and spiritual depth of In My Solitude.