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Kathleen Kolman: Press

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

Record Label: Self Produced
Kathleen Ramirez Kolman is a exciting new vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. Her new CD "Dream On' is an exploration of Portuguese music filtered through the fabric of American jazz. The 11 songs on the CD are a collection of little heard songs from the Brazilian and American songbooks with a few originals.
Singers? Sometimes many are chosen; few are called. The jazz world teams with new singers, hopeful, some very talented, some not as talented. Kathleen Kolman belongs to the first category. Her new album Dream On (Walkin' Foot) shows that. This album was her final project for her Masters in Music Education. That's interesting, but the music speaks for itself, as does her vocal style.

The album is a mix of standards, Brazilian classic bossa-sambas, an original and a version of Aerosmith's "Dream On." My youthful musical memories include a time when the jazz-rock interface was just beginning to come into being. Jazz vocalists--and even more so the middle-of-the-road offshoots of jazz vocalists--began trying to bring the rock-pop music of the day into their repertoire. Take even the best. Ella Fitzgerald was a master, of course, but she perhaps was not all that comfortable taking on a Beatles song. Others of lesser talent tried as well but there was a chasm between the vocal styles at that point. Generations came up who had been raised in a world where rock was ever-present. So we come to today and the idea of a singer like Ms. Kolman doing the Aerosmith perennial is not such a leap anymore. And she does a convincing job of it.

And it's not just that she comes out of a different world. She gets interesting arrangements going and sings in convincing ways no matter what kind of song she tackles. Things like Ivan Lin's samba "Somos Todos Iguais Nesta Noite" are perhaps her most convincing numbers. They drive with the lovely lilt that Ms. Kolman handles perfectly. But she has the extended phrasing nuances, the flexible voice color and the pitch control to hold her own on even something as weathered and storm-tossed as "The More I See You." Her original "Until the Very End" is memorable as well.

It's an album with real charm, nice arrangements and a vocalist seemingly with a deep commitment to her repertoire. Kathleen Kolman brings her effective interpretive talents to realize words and music in creative ways, ways that ring true.

I hope we hear more from her soon!
* Artist / Group Name: Kathleen Kolman

* CD Title: Dream On

* Genre: Jazz Vocals

* Year Released: 2011

* Record Label: Walkin' Foot Productions

* Rating: Four Stars

This CD, Dream On, by New Hampshire-based Kathleen Kolman, was one of those incredible surprises that one stumbles on every now and then. Until you listen, one cannot appreciate the rich, deep tonality of Kolman's voice. Not only am I surprised at the beauty of this unique voice, I am intrigued at the application of this voice to the popular Latin and original tunes.

"Dream On," the title track, is in fact, that Aerosmith classic by Steven Tyler. In Kolman's hands, this is a soulful and passionate, bluesy ballad. Kolman's voice gives this tune a whole new life. While that track is entertaining, it pales in comparison to any track in which Kolman is singing in the Portuguese of Brazilian jazz. Then, I cannot even describe how natural this voice is to listen to.

Melting mocha ice cream with fudge sauce, that is what comes to mind when I listen to Kolman deliver these wonderful tracks. One cut after another I was further convinced that Kolman had transcended genetic and cultural boundaries and was, in fact, saturated with that Latin jazz gene that few others have truly possessed.

She has it! She can swing, bop, groove and melt! The extensive list of musicians backing up Kolman on this CD provide a solid canvas for her to paint a rich picture of a song. Kolman is a solid and sultry songstress and is convincing in all the formats shown on Dream On.