Toronto-based Kathleen Gorman wears several cloaks. She is a composer, singer, pianist, and arranger. Her first CD, Brand New Day
, conclusively profiles her talents with songs possessing a wide range, and Gorman does them justice in bringing out the feelings that lie in the lyrics.
Gorman sings with a compact sense of rhythm and development, letting her creative sense light a fire under the songs. What emerges is an expressive singer who is at home in jazz, blues and the gentle folds of a ballad.
"Nothing More Than Everything" is bittersweet, her voice echoing disappointment at a love lost. Gorman's arrangements involve the musicians closely, their interaction elevating every track. Here she plays piano, with Kirk Starkey adding warm intonation on cello. Together they make this one of the best on the set.
Rob Piltch(guitar) and Gorman (Rhodes) set up the bluesy "The River is Wide." Gorman's voice not only infers the sense of melancholy, but also carries a steely determination.
Gorman essays her skills as a pianist on two instrumentals. "Rialto" radiates with ideas that are saturated in melodicism. Gorman never goes over the top, and gives the tune an ethereal vibe abetted by St-Laurent's instilled Latin lilt. "Ain't the Way" is played twiceonce as an instrumental, and again as a vocal track. The instrumental is a warm and fuzzy ballad, given cozy comfort by saxophonist Colleen Allen, while Rob Piltch (electric guitar) edges it into rock. Gorman lays back, content to let the Fender Rhodes ripple underneath.
It's an impressive enough debut and Gorman should be well on her way to marking her territory as an accomplished performer.
Personnel: Kathleen Gorman: piano, Rhodes , vocals; Henry Heilleg: acoustic and electric bass; Rob Piltch: guitars; Colleen Allen: saxophone; Denis Keldie: Hammond B organ; Ben Riley: drums; Alan Hetherington: percussion; Sara Traficante: flute; Marc Pfizer: drums; Eric St-Laurent: guitars; Kirk Starkey: cello.