There is a tremendous less-is-more majesty to vocalist and pianist Kandace Springs’ sophomore release, its 13 tracks rarely featuring more than four players, yet each incredibly atmospheric. Apart from drummer/percussionist Karriem Riggins, who produced or co-produced all but two of the cuts and plays on seven, there are no core bandmates. Instead, various configurations were assembled to custom-tailor the mood and vibe. Citing Nina Simone as her inspiration, Springs evinces a similarly powerful beauty, a satin ’n’ sinew verve, though her soul-infused sound more strongly suggests Cassandra Wilson by way of Whitney Houston.
There are covers: “People Make the World Go ’Round” and “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” both respectfully true to the Stylistics and Roberta Flack originals; a swirling, gypsy-infused take on Jesse Harris’ “Black Orchid,” fueled by the twin guitars of Harris and Anthony Wilson, and a passionate, flute-kissed interpretation of Gabriel Garzón-Montano’s “6 8.” But the focus is on new compositions, including eight co-crafted by Springs, exploring love’s many facets, from obsession (the distinctly Adele-esque “Fix Me”) and codependence (the lush “Breakdown”) to refuge (the anthemic, two-part title track, which totals just 67 seconds). Heartache and romantic complications drive “Piece of Me,” “Unsophisticated,” featuring trumpeter Roy Hargrove, and the opening “Don’t Need the Real Thing,” written by Janelle Kroll and Jimmy Harry. To close, Springs unites with her dad (and co-writer) Scat Springs, for “Simple Things,” a sweet, tender nod to love’s unadorned pricelessness.