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Kathleen Kolman: Dream On

C. Michael Bailey By

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Track review of "Dream On"

New England jazz polyglot Kathleen Kolman displays efficiency in art with the release of Dream On. The recording serves as both her Masters Degree project at Lesley University in Cambridge and her first commercial release. She joins a rarefied group of female jazz vocalists who call New England home, including Donna Byrne, Kris Adams, Krisanthi Pappas, Carol Akerson and Rebecca Parris. Her deep alto voice is quite reminiscent of Parris, a true standout in jazz vocals.

Kolman's specialty is Brazilian jazz sung in the original Portuguese. While Dream On contains a good bit of this music, it is the title tune—yes, the Aerosmith hit—that rocks the house. The search for the new popular music jazz songbook has gone to many strange places, but adding Aerosmith to the book breaks new ground. Jazz vocal interpretations of rock songs are fraught with hazard, but Kolman is certainly up to the challenge.

Opting for spare accompaniment, Kolman elects to use only upright bass, percussion, and background vocals on this rock anthem. Her arrangement works not only surprisingly well, but is successful across the board. A descending bass figure opens the song, recalling Peggy Lee's opening to "Fever." Kolman's voice, husky and durable draws out Steven Tyler's lyrics, presenting them in a way that both makes sense of the lyrics and music. The difficult chorus and coda are handled with bright background vocals that frame Kolman's singing. Something that could have gone horrible wrong emerges triumphant and evolutionary. Aerosmith enters The Great American Songbook.

Personnel: Kathleen Kolman: vocals; Keala Kaumeheiwa: bass; Bertram Lehmann: percussion

Title: Dream On | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Self Produced


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