The Women Who Raised Me is the third album of the now 31-year-old singer and pianist Kandace Springs, with which she pays tribute to these women whose art has accompanied her since childhood: “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. In a way, all I’m trying to do every day is live up to the examples they set. My dream is that people will listen to my album and then want to go learn more about all of these great women. If that happens, then I’ve done my job.”
For Kandace Springs, paying tribute means bringing together selected songs from her favorite singers on her new album. Nowadays, this is called "covering" songs and is understood to mean the more or less identical singing of originals or the more or less imaginative modification of songs by well-known artists. Kandace Springs, like other competent artists, especially jazz singers, obviously understands by it more than the slightly modified re-interpretation of songs, but rather their re-interpretation. The original mood is translated into a new dramaturgy, which lets the songs appear in a new light, but at least lets the respective original appear between the lines. This approach is more than legitimate, as it also takes into account the fact that the voice of the covering singer is regularly very different from that of the original.
Not to be underestimated is the influence of the accompanying musicians, who have been carefully put together for The Women Who Raised Me and include guitarist Steve Cardenas, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Clarence Penn, but also trumpeter Avishai Cohen, flautist Elena Pinderhughes, and tenor saxophonist Chris Potter. In addition, the album was recorded almost entirely under live conditions, which adds to the credibility of the song interpretations, and which Kandace Springs was particularly keen on: “Pretty much everything you hear is live, and it’s similar to the first record that I made, where we were all looking at each other in a big studio, old-school style, which I like. I think there’s more magic that way.”
The Women Who Raised Me proves to be a worthy reminiscence of great ladies of jazz whose songs have inspired Kandace Springs to true heights of soul, blues and gospel singing that are second to none, and whose artistic ability and exquisite taste tell of the still young singer's ability to re-interpret these songs. Together with the excellent recording quality of this download, we have an album here that has what it takes to be Jazz Album of the Year.