by Jeff Becker
Mad Love is the genius creation of pianist and vocalist Kathleen Hollingsworth. Her creativity with lyrics and exciting melodies is the crux of the tasty recipe contained on her latest album ISH. Joined by Brent Follis, drums; Dave Captien, bass with special guests Wil Blades, organ, “Easy Rider”; Dominic Castillo, guitar, “Hey There, Rider” and Ross Garlow, bass, “Hey There, Rider,” together they put for outstanding performances to highlight Hollingsworth’s exceptional ideas. Hollingsworth is a Portland-based musician she has been performing and writing for most of her life. She is also an active educator in the northwest as a choral educator, adjudicator, and director.
A highlight on the album is “Wave The Sun Goodbye,” an original by Hollingsworth. The song opens with a modern jazz intro that builds to a beautiful melody and moving lyrics. Captien’s bass is rich and full as Follis colors with musical crosscurrents rhythms all around the bassline. Hollingsworth’s piano chords are colorful and move with exciting voice leading. The form is evolving, and there are moments of breaths and inhales. Hollingsworth’s vocal solo is in the pocket and melodic. Her vocal tone is warm as she moves throughout her vocal range. The trio builds a musical story, and “Wave The Sun Goodbye” is a powerful opening track that is reflective of Hollingsworth’s compositional skills.
Blending the perfect East and West coast sound is another original called “Passing of The General.” With an ethereal intro, the song builds with interest and an exotic hue. The melody has two distinct feels, making it interesting and original. Hollingsworth’s syllabic melody is moving and answers the lyric section nicely. The addition of vocal harmonies adds a new color. Follis composed the music with lyrics by Hollingsworth. Musically the trio is very interactive; the interaction between Follis and Captien is entertaining. Hollingsworth’s piano fills around her vocal lines are just as bright as her singing. An exciting composition that shows just how versatile this trio is at creating beautiful musical journeys.
ISH is a gem of a recording that highlights Hollingsworth’s effusion of ideas. The trio has a robust communicative approach that executes each track with strong confluence. ISH is a varied journey of jazz mixed with strong songwriting that is typically found in the Americana genres. Hollingsworth takes that idea and imprints it well into the jazz idiom with modern-day tonalities and rhythms. A welcomed change from the standard swing fare.