KANDACE SPRINGS; The Women Who Raised Me (Blue Note)

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Back in February, US soul/jazz singer Robin McKelle released a lovely album, ‘Alterations’…her reconstructed versions of songs originally associated with female soul and jazz singers who had influenced and inspired her own career. Now Nashville chanteuse Kandace Springs delivers another album in much the same vein, with the title explaining succinctly the set’s raison d’être. She says: “This is an album I’ve been wanting to make forever. It really expresses my love for all of these singers and gratitude for what they gave me. Each taught me something different and all of those lessons combined to make me who I am now.”

The 12 song album sees Ms Springs offer new versions of songs made famous by and /or recorded by people like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Diana Krall, Carmen McRae, Sade, Dusty Springfield, and Roberta Flack.  Album highlight, though, is the sparse version of blues queen Bonnie Raitt’s ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’. It’s a great song anyway and Ms Springs’ warm and soulful delivery brings out the beauty and pathos inherent in the song’s desperation.

Elsewhere you can enjoy lovely versions of ‘What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life’ (based on the Dusty Springfield template); the bossa nova classic ‘Gentle Rain’ (a tribute to Astrud Gilberto), Lauryn Hill’s ‘Ex Factor’ and Roberta Flack’s ‘Killing Me Softly’. Genre giants are represented by Billie Holliday (‘Strange Fruit’) and Ella Fitzgerald (‘Angel Eyes’). On the latter, Kandace duets with Norah Jones – another of her heroines. Springs also offers her take on Jones’ version of  the standard ‘The Nearness Of You’ .

Ms Jones is one of several key guests on the album. Amongst the others are bassist Christian McBride and sax man David Sanborn who add shading and muscle to Ms Spring’s studio trio… Steve Cardenas, Scott Colley and Clarence Penn.

We believe that this album is available now.

(BB) 4/5