What: Kandace Springs, with Jazzarts Oregon

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, doors open at 6 p.m.

Where: Riverhouse Jazz, Riverhouse on the Deschutes, 3075 NE Third St., Bend

Cost: $63.50 plus fees

Contact: riverhouse.com/jazz or 866-453-4480

Kandace Springs doesn’t seem interested in mincing words, even if others do on her behalf.

For example, her biography on her website states: “Conversations with her longtime producers Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers led to soul searching and rethinking her musical direction.”

That almost sounds like Springs received no pushback from her famous producers (known for working with Christina Aguilera and discovering Rihanna) when she decided to focus on a more organic, jazz-and-soul-inflected sound on last year’s full-length “Soul Eyes,” over the hip-hop- and R&B-oriented material found on her self-titled, 2014 debut EP.

In reality, it took some pushing from a few other famous musicians in Springs’ corner to bring her producers around — namely her father, Nashville session singer Scat Springs; and an eccentric performer from Minneapolis named Prince Rogers Nelson.

“At first (Sturken and Rogers) actually were a little reluctant to it — they’d probably never want to admit, but it’s the truth,” Springs said while driving her replica 1952 MG TD (she’s been obsessed with cars since she was 3) near her home in Nashville. She plays a two-night stand to open the second season of Riverhouse Jazz at Riverhouse on the Deschutes on Friday and Saturday.

“I mean, they fricking found Rihanna and they wrote (singing Rihanna’s ‘Shut Up and Drive’), they wrote all that. So you can kind of see how they would try to take me there in a way, and I was like, ‘No.’ And it came to a head at one point. That’s when Prince was in my life, too, and my dad. Between my dad and Prince … they were like, ‘You can be the Roberta Flack of your generation.’”

Prince, who discovered Springs via her cover of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” and invited her to perform with him at Paisley Park for the 30th anniversary of “Purple Rain” in 2014, got to hear “Soul Eyes” before his death in April 2016. He had invited Springs to record with him at Paisley Park in January 2016, right before Springs’ birthday.

“He picked me up — he had a driver, and they had this big, fat, blacked-out Escalade at the airport,” Springs said. “… I open up the door, and there he is in the back seat. And he says, ‘Let me hear your album.’ And I was like, ‘OK.’ I had it on the CD; we clicked it in. And I know for sure his favorite song on that album was ‘Novocaine Heart,” I think it’s track five on the album. You know, he’s kind of a funk guy, so that was his jam.”

The material on “Soul Eyes” reflects the music Springs fell in love with when she started playing piano and singing, influenced by such artists as Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Norah Jones — in fact, the piano ballad that closes the album, “Rain Falling,” was written by Springs when she was 16.

While the record features a larger band, including trumpeter Terence Blanchard on two songs, Springs will strip the music down to a piano-bass-drums-guitar quartet at Riverhouse Jazz.

Six more shows round out the series, including a quintet led by “King of Nouveau Swing” saxophonist Donald Harrison and trumpeter Terell Stafford on Nov. 17 and 18; a double-bill featuring Portland pianists Darrell Grant and David Goldblatt on Dec. 22 and 23; George Colligan, Buster Williams and Lenny White on Jan. 12 and 13; violinist Regina Carter and her quintet Feb. 16 and 17; contemporary jazz pianist Taylor Eigsti and his quartet March 23 and 24; and Portland guitarist Dan Balmer leading three trios April 20 and 21.

“I don’t want it to sound like I didn’t like last year’s lineup, because I did,” said series founder and curator Marshall Glickman. “But I think we’re really — for people who are into this music, I think we’ve really stepped it up.”

Student groups from Bend, Portland State University, the University of Oregon and the Alan Jones Academy of Music in Portland will open the shows. Separate from the main series, the Riverhouse on the Deschutes also hosts local jazz musicians Thursday nights from 7 to 9 p.m.; the first of these was Jazz Bros. on Oct. 5.

Glickman also founded Jazz at the Oxford, the other major jazz concert series in Bend that opens Friday and Saturday with T.S. Monk. The series go head-to-head for three performances (besides this weekend’s shows, the Oxford also has artists booked Nov. 17 and 18 and Jan. 12 and 13). Despite this also happening last year, Glickman said Riverhouse Jazz sold out most of its shows in its first season.

“My hunch is it kind of says something about Bend,” Glickman said. “Partly, it’s growing, which we all know, but also things are diversifying.”

Even with the more tradition-minded “Soul Eyes” under her belt, Springs will bring a more modern sound to the Riverhouse series. And she’s not disavowing the self-titled EP: She described her just-completed second album, tentatively titled “Indigo” and produced by Diana Krall’s drummer, Karriem Riggins, as “almost like dead center” between “Soul Eyes” and her debut.

“You’re gonna feel the hip-hop a little bit,” she said. “But it’s still very jazzy. It’s even kind of like — it’s hard to explain. Like throwback soul to even — the Jesse (Harris, guitarist on ‘Soul Eyes’) song is almost kind of that Middle Eastern feel, like Egyptian scales (scatting a melody), that kind of stuff, to Roberta Flack. It’s just the best. We’ve been playing it for the people in the U.K. and they’re freaking out already.”

Stylistically, “Indigo” harks back to the first album Springs recorded with her father early in her career, now out of print. According to her website and numerous interviews she’s conducted, Springs was initially offered a recording contract by Sturken and Rogers when she was 17, but declined after consulting with her family and worked for several years at a Nashville hotel parking cars by day and playing piano at night. During this time, her father guided her music career, and they recorded an album together titled “My Name is Sheba,” Springs said.

“I’m really glad I didn’t (sign the contract) now, especially now that my dad’s had his stroke (earlier this year) and stuff — I would have never had a chance to make an album with him,” Springs said. “He didn’t want me to sign with Evan and Carl, the guys that I’m with now, ’cause they didn’t really want him involved — they want to do everything. My dad’s a little controlling, to be honest, in a good way. And he’s watching out for me, so he’s like, ‘We can make an album; we can do all this.’ “So we made an album, and it’s actually very nice,” she continued. “And one of the songs on it is gonna be on this next album; it’s called ‘Simple Things.’ And so that didn’t really go far, partly because we didn’t have the connections at the time like Evan and Carl did. … I actually called Evan and Carl back and they’re like, ‘Are you ready to be a star?’ and I was like, ‘Yep.’”

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected. In the original version, the number of musicians in Kandace Springs’ band was misidentified. The Bulletin regrets the error.

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