Carol Kidd Sings Cole Porter

There’s no denying Scottish jazz singer Carol Kidd has a sweet voice, although it takes a few songs to settle down this evening. However, the material and set-up is not strong enough to sustain interest for the whole duration of the show and Kidd’s jokes wear thin pretty quickly. What’s clear from the start is that Carol Kidd and pianist Brian Kellock are amongst ‘friends’ and that this sold-out show is for the converted. She is not about to try to entice new fans; indeed, there is an assumption of shared history - ‘Who saw my show at Le Monde?’ and ‘Who remembers the toilets at Port Seton?’ etc. - that weaves throughout and rather excludes the few youngsters in the audience. If you were hoping to be initiated into the fold, to hear old classics sung in fresh ways and to learn more about the great American composer and song-writer himself (it’s not irrelevant that Kidd refers to him more than once as Noel Coward, prompting audience laughter, while Kidd takes a beat too long to realise her mistake) then you’ve darkened the wrong theatre-door.

I don’t get goosebumps when I listen to Carol Kidd. Her voice is too sweet and thin for me and she lacks the likeability of an Ella Fitzgerald.

The set tonight includes: ‘You Do Something to Me’, ‘You’d Be So Easy To Love’, featuring a lovely piano solo, ‘Get Out of Town’ with some nice scat singing, and possible highlight, ‘I Love Paris’, which has some nifty jazz phrasing. ‘It’s De-Lovely’ sees Kidd up from her chair and singing at people in the crowd, although she admits it’s difficult to see them. Kidd does try hard to interact with her audience, particularly in the second half when she tells us about her childhood, holidays from Glasgow to Port Setonia via tram (cue jokes about Edinburgh’s infamous embarrassment), a father who taught her to sing, her mother’s love of American musicals, then finally, some mention of Porter/Coward. Apparently she chose him because his songs are varied – I’d like a bit more than this. The second half is also rather too ballad-heavy, although it does feature ‘Don’t Fence Me In’ - the lyrics for which Kidd has to read from a music stand - which has the audience murmuring excitedly.

I don’t get goosebumps when I listen to Carol Kidd. Her voice is too sweet and thin for me and she lacks the likeability of an Ella Fitzgerald. The matey-ness she assumes is tiring and the encore of ‘Georgia on My Mind’ – one of my favourite songs – makes me want to rush home and listen to my namesake. Special mention though should go to the pianist, who does a good job of keeping Kidd on track and whose intricate piano playing and easy humour is perhaps the real treat of the evening.

Reviews by Ella Moran-Jones

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★★★
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★★★★
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★★★★★
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★★★★
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★★★
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Performances

The Blurb

Scotland's First Lady of Jazz, accompanied by top jazz pianist Brian Kellock, celebrate the supremely gifted songwriter Cole Porter. Don't miss this relaxed and intimate evening of great music performed by two great artists.