Edinburgh Jazz Festival: China Moses

CHINA MOSES, THE HUB

****
If you didn’t know much about the R’n’B singer Dinah Washington at the beginning of French-American singer China Moses’s concert on Saturday night, then you sure did by the end. It may not have been billed as a Dinah Washington tribute, but given Moses’s self-confessed “complete obsession” – and the fact that it was her Washington homage album which landed her a high-profile jazz festival gig, it wasn’t too surprising to find that Dinah was a constant presence.
Moses – glamorous, blinged up and wildly energetic (she barely stood still, and gyrated with abandon throughout the gig) – is as much an enterainer as a singer. With her vividly told, often hilarious Dinah Washington stories, she held the capacity audience in the palm of her bejewelled hand throughout the gig, and was quickly forgiven for the 20 minute-late start to the show.
Occasionally she talked too much – at the end it looked as if she might have to be dragged offstage as she was so profuse in her thanks to the audience (she even produced a camera to video her full house) – but overall, she emerged as an endearingly exuberant character whose enthusiasm and energy were refreshing.
As for the singing, well, she has a staggeringly powerful voice which just about blew the roof off on the best number of the night, Dinah’s Blues, which she co-wrote. One reason it was so appealing was that she wasn’t trying to sound like La Washington – which she did on most of the other numbers.
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