Music review Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival: Cat Loud, The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh

CAT Loud’s approach is straightforward. She simply sings her heart out for an hour and a half in the company of her trio, and on this final night of the Edinburgh Jazz Festival she did so much to the appreciation of a crammed Jazz Bar. She champions torch songs and the sometimes ill-starred women who sang them, taking us on “a whistle-stop tour of my favourite singers,” but she can also muster a convincing blues holler of her own, as she did towards the end of her show.

Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival - Cat Loud
Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival - Cat Loud

Cat Loud, The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh ****

She opened with a languorous account of a Billie Holiday favourite, Speak Low, guitarist David Toule, drummer Vid Gobac and John Youngs on double bass providing a suitably low-key accompaniment, and moved on to another Holiday number, Fine and Mellow, which swung along easefully.

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A fan of the singer-songwriter Melody Gardot, she performed two of her bittersweet compositions – the smoky-toned Who Will Comfort Me? over limber guitar-picking from Toule, and the nicely paced Baby I’m a Fool. She wasn’t loathe, however, to cover what she regarded as “quite twee” material – Doris Day’s Tea for Two, rendering it both slinky and wistful, with a swingy band break in the middle, rather than the more plinky-plonk renditions often made of it.

Intriguingly declaring her ambition to be “the Miss Havisham of Scottish jazz,” she returned to the strictly non-Dickensian sultry slow blues territory which suits her with Carmen McRae’s Black Coffee and a starkly funky delivery of Bonnie Raitt’s Everybody’s Cryin’ Mercy.

Jim Gilchrist