Saturday night’s jazz festival concert at The Hub was always going to be a game of two halves, thanks to the unusual programming which meant that the hugely popular singer Carol Kidd – who hasn’t appeared in Edinburgh since last year’s festival – was only going to perform one set. And so, there was a real sense of expectation about her appearance – especially since it was to be a rare duo set with pianist Brian Kellock whose trio’s bop-oriented opening session didn’t pander at all to the Kidd crowd’s more mainstream taste.
Kidd’s duo with Kellock is quite a different beast to her normal musical double-act with guitarist Nigel Clark. There was a looseness and an edge which comes with collaborating with an alternative, more infrequent, partner, and it seemed a little less controlled than usual. Kellock seems to bring out the mischievous side of Kidd – though at times, amidst her horsing around (something that the rather formal Hub seems to inspire in both of them), it felt, to those of us at the back of the hall, as if we were missing out on some great joke.
Kidd was singing at the top of her game, on a programme largely comprised of old favourites from her repertoire. Also as ever, her voice was at its most beguiling on ballads, notably a sumptuous take on The Man I Love and It Never Entered My Mind (though there’s no point in singing those gorgeous Lorenz Hart lyrics if you’re going to forget the maiden’s prayer/into my hair line). However, it was her dramatic, encore, performance of The Man That Got Away – with Kellock’s trio – that slayed the audience and undoubtedly left everyone wanting more..
(First published in The Herald, Monday August 1st)