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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Kandace Springs @ Rich Mix, Bethnall Green. EFG London Jazz Festival - November 13.


 Kandace Springs (vocal, piano), Jesse Harris (acoustic guitar, vocal), Jesse Beadenberg (acoustic bass), Dylan Tracey (drums).  
(Review by Steve T)
Some readers, including some in the North East, will have seen her support Gregory Porter. Everybody who's seen Gregory Porter, whenever they saw him, tends to think they caught him just in the nick of time, before he cozied up to Jools and the rest of the BBC, playing Glastonbury and generally becoming part of the establishment. I saw him at Cheltenham in 2013 so I didn't see him at Sage Gateshead and haven't seen Kandace.
I was convinced her album was on the revitalised Stax label, so when I read she's on Blue Note I dug the album out and it was. In my defence, the two labels are comparable within soul and Jazz respectively, and it's impossible to say categorically whether she's one or the other, and does it actually make any difference anyway? For what it's worth I think she's a soul singer, but every soul singer comes, at least in part, from Jazz and the best Jazz singers come from the more soulful end of things.
She's less 'down home' than Tasha (daughter of Johnnie) Taylor and less hip-hop than Angie Stone, probably the greatest soul singer of the last quarter century, who turned up on Stax.
Her album Soul Eyes doesn't take your breath away like some debuts but shows great promise for the future. For anyone who knows their soul, think Brenda Russell and if not, Roberta Flack is near enough.
Little Mix is a small venue where Jambone played last year, and this was one of the first gigs of the festival to sell out, prompting her to add another date.
The room was set theatre style and when she arrived on stage and immediately sat at a grand piano stage right, a large number of the audience couldn't see her at all. Some of us made for the far wall securing a rear view which was better than none.
You know you're on to something when the live voice is better than the record. With bass and drums and key songwriter, acoustic guitarist and occasional vocalist Jesse Harris joining them intermittently, his singing affording us an opportunity for a comfort break, she served up confident, accomplished versions of most (perhaps all) of her album, some Oscar Peterson, some Chopin, some Duke, some Norah Jones, some Prince and Someone to Watch Over Me. 
Highlight for me, unsurprisingly, was her fine version of the War classic World is a Ghetto, though their own instrumental remake is better and the Benson version remains the best.
Apparently, she ends every show with Roberta Flack’s The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face and if anybody hasn't seen the Clint Eastwood film Play Misty for Me, you will not be disappointed.  
Etta James At Last as an encore and I don't think she could have pitched it better, the audience lapping it up.
This particular gig wasn't the main reason for this trip to London, the expense and hassle on older, broader, shoulders, but was a fine taster. She warned us not to forget the K or we wouldn't find her. Nobody who's seen her is likely to forget the K and I think we'll be hearing a lot more from her in the coming years.
Steve T.

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