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Carol Kidd: Tell Me Once Again

Brunton Theatre ***

Jazz legend Carol Kidd returned to Musselburgh’s Brunton Theatre with a diverse and affecting programme.

Accompanied by collaborator Nigel Clark on acoustic guitar, she opened with up-tempo Georgia On My Mind, before launching into Someone to Watch Over Me. The night’s set continued in similar fashion with jazz staples being occasionally interspersed with songs from Kidd’s new album, Tell Me Once Again, an exploration of love and loss.

Despite the solemn theme of the set, Kidd’s infamous puckish persona was present throughout – whether horsing around with her partner or taunting latecomers.

Her humour was not only apparent in her candid exchanges but also played an inherent role within her repertoire. Ragtime oldie Jeepers Creepers was given the songstress’ special treatment, with the song’s scat-like outro played out for laughs.

Kidd’s boldest departures, though, involved imaginative interpretations of the standards. Sweeping from a towering falsetto to hushed tones, Kidd delivered her evocative slow account of the Arlen and Koehler classic Stormy Weather over Clark’s impromptu playing.

Other favourites from the great American songbook included a heart-on-sleeve rendition of The End of a Love Affair and A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.

If familiarity has dulled Kidd at all, it is the tendency to underplay some of the song’s implications in favour of ostentation.

Returning to the standards for the finale, Kidd belted out Bye Bye Blackbird, encouraging the audience to sing and clap along.

Unsurprisingly, the encore belonged to the singer’s poignant signature song, When I Dream, which rounded off the evening’s proceedings.

“I can be the singer or the clown in any room,” sung Kidd. Words which, given the evening’s nature of two halves, couldn’t have been more appropriate.