Cherise Adams-Burnett at The Royal Albert Hall for EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

Cherise Adams-Burnett

 

Words: Flora Neighbour

If you’re looking to ease yourself into jazz, look no further than Cherise Adams-Burnett. Performing for the second time during EFG London Jazz Festival, the 23-year-old took to the stage in front of an intimate audience fuelled with anticipation and excitement. Kicking off the night, Cherise glided through the audience in the Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall in her floaty, white dress, looking ethereal, confident and ready to perform.

 

Cherise Adams-Burnett performing at The Elgar Room in The Royal Albert Hall

 

The first half saw Cherise accompanied by Gabriel Piers-Mantell on the piano, Olly Sarkar on the drums, and Louis van der Westhuizen on the double bass. Playing music from her forthcoming album – out next year – Cherise treated the audience to an insight into her love life and the trials and tribulations of a past relationship. Taking influence from Ella Fitzgerald and Carmen McRae, the music felt vulnerable and poetic. However, what Cherise lacks in age, she also lacks in experience, and often the words sounded a little contrived. Although her youthful energy and multi-faceted repertoire helped bring variety to her performance of Pretenders, her talent and vocal abilities took centre stage over the lyrics. The audience, however, lapped it up and we saw Cherise finish the first half of the set performing earthy, soulful tracks with classical influences and the odd, extremely impressive, scat.

 

Cherise Adams-Burnett performing at The Elgar Room in The Royal Albert Hall

 

The second half of the evening saw Cherise joined on stage by Ife Ogunjobi on the trumpets, a string quartet and backing singers for a big band sound. Bringing up the tempo, the more upbeat half had a very different feel to the first, and I could see Cherise’s famed neo soul and R&B influences making an entrance. I could feel the audience tapping their feet to the tracks performed, enjoying Cherise as she sung in harmony with the backing vocalists and occasionally played her flute – once again, showing off her conservatoire training. The hazy, smoky lights were dimmed red and the room channelled the late-night jazz sessions many of the audience hoped for. Overall the evening was a wonderful showcase of talent from everyone involved. An eclectic mix of genres and a very youthful affair, the performance perhaps lacked that rough experience that comes with time. I look forward to Cherise perfecting her own sound with her distinctive, beautiful voice. Give Cherise time to grow and she’ll flower into a deeper shade of blues.

 

Kandace Springs at Southbank Centre for EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

Kandace Springs

Kandace Springs

Sounds the trumpets! The EFG London Jazz Festival has officially begun, and, this Saturday, we headed to the Southbank Centre to see Kandace Springs perform her soulful tracks to a packed-out audience.

The 10-day celebration hopes to provide audiences with a mixture of renowned artists and emerging stars from the world of Jazz. The popular event will see artists such as Camilla George, Cherise Adams-Burnett and Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra bring jazz to the forefront of London culture this winter. Kicking things off, Kandace Springs channelled her inner Dusty Springfield for a wonderful end to the first week. However, we were also treated to opening act AJ Brown and his Elton John-esqe piano renditions.

You wouldn’t be the only one to mistake Yorkshire-born AJ Brown for an American cruise ship performer. His upbeat, popular performances had strong Burt Bacharach influences (who he’s actually performed with), and his charismatic charm had the audience tapping their feet. His powerful voice carried around the newly refurbished Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre, performing his own tracks as well as many of his idols, including Luther Vandross. Closing his set with a ballad version of Latch by Disclosure feat. Sam Smith, AJ Brown revealed his vocal talents, hitting all the high notes with ease. Although, it may have not been the jazz I was expecting (the style of Michael Buble with the reach of Tom Jones), he definitely got the audience alert and ready for the next act – Kandace Springs.

Kandace Springs performing at the Southbank Centre for EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

The late and great Prince once said that Kandace Springs ‘has a voice that could melt snow’, and he wasn’t wrong. Captivating from start to finish, the wonderful Kandace Springs from Nashville, Tennessee performed an amazing set of meaningful and beautiful songs. Alongside the two-piece band, comprising the double bass and the drums, Kandace brought new tracks, her favourite songs and anecdotes of growing up with her father (also a jazz musician), Scat Springs, to the stage.

Kandace’s voice sounds like an old soul, despite her young age. Her husky, dulcet tones are mesmerising and send you into another world. Her range, however, was outstanding and she made sure she performed tracks to showcase her vocal repertoire. Performing songs by Dusty Springfield, Nina Simone and many other talented jazz musicians, Springs also performed her new single Fix me, which was an amalgamation of R&B, pop, jazz and classical genres – Chopin is one of her most-loved composers. Springs’ music was full of classical inspiration, merging well with her love of jazz. A welcoming and upbeat concert, by the end I felt like I knew the singer well. Kandace Springs is one to watch.

 

To book tickets to other shows in the EFG London Jazz Festival, head to efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk