The New England area is simply teeing with excellent vocalists, including Donna Bryne, Kris Adams, Krisanthi Pappas and Carol Akerson, among others. With an exceptional inaugural album, The Dreamer
, another New Englander Kathleen Kolman earns a prominent spot on that roster. To her credit, the album's play list avoids the comfortable standard classic material of Cole Porter, the Gershwin Brothers, Mercer and Van Heusen, material that singers usually stick with on their initial album. Instead her musical agenda features what I call second tier classics. These are those tunes which are not recorded as often as the more famous entries in the Great American Songbook, but which nonetheless attract performers known for their good taste like Jeri Southern, Shirley Horn, Lee Wiley, and Susannah McCorkle. Kolman also concentrates here on songs which lean toward the melancholy fitting well with her full, deep voice like "Where Do You Start", one of the all time sad songs. Her interpretation of "Detour Ahead" ranks up there with recordings made by Terri Thornton and the inestimable Ms Southern. Room is set aside for a tasteful, short drum solo by Les Harris, Jr. The album's opener "Let's Get Lost" is done medium tempo and showcases Mark Shilansky's spare, minimalist but tuneful piano. Kolman's comfort with Latin rhythms is apparent as she whisks through Jobim's "The Dreamer" and the Menescal/Boscoli penned "Little Boat". On the first, Charlie Jennison's Herbie Mann-like flute is featured and, on the second, his smooth, in tune soprano saxophone. The passion in Ms Kolman's voice makes "As Long as He Needs Me" a truly emotional experience. Jennison's tenor provides an instrumental intensity amplifying Kolman's dramatic expression to make this track one of the highlights of the album.
Singers from the New England area are fortunate to have at their disposal a number of first rate musicians. Kolman has selected well from this group. Mark Shilansky's piano is sympathetic and supportive throughout the entire session. Flautist and sax man Charlie Jennison superior solo work has already been mentioned. John Lockwood is fast becoming bassist of choice in the New England area, having worked with Kris Adams and Carol Akerson. His virtuosity is put on display with another Latin number and the album's coda. "Tirste". Lockwood, along with Les Harris' drums give real meaning to the old rubric that "if you get the rhythm section right, playing the song is easy". The Dreamer is a fine out the box effort and is recommended. You can order it on the web at www.showgigs.com/kathleenkolman.
Personnel: Kathleen Kolman - Vocals; Mark Shilansky - Piano; John Lockwood - Bass; Charlie Jennison - Saxes, Flute; Les Harris, Jr - Drums; Catherine Birrer - Percussion