by Elberton Cisnero
Mad Love – Ish Review
By Elberton Cisnero
Pianist and vocalist Kathleen Hollingsworth is the leader of a refreshingly original trio called Mad Love. Hollingsworth is not new to music; she has been performing and writing for most of her life. An active choral educator, adjudicator, and director. Her latest release ISH is a journey of four years of performing and developing the songs contained within this serendipitous new album. Joined by Brent Follis, drums; Dave Captien, bass; Wil Blades, organ, and guests Dominic Castillo, guitar, and Ross Garlow, bass. The album tackles Hollingsworth’s originals, a co-collaboration on “Passing of The General” with music by Brent Follis and lyrics by Kathleen Hollingsworth, including arrangements by Hollingsworth of classic nuggets “Whisper Not,” and “Candy Man.”
“Whisper Not” is a Hollingsworth arrangement of the beautiful Benny Golson classic. Her creative approach to the song is invigorating. The five four-time signature switching to four four for the bridge brings a new rhythmic element to the well-known melody, as does Hollingsworth’s phrasing and superb vocal quality. Hollingsworth’s Rhodes sound for this track is a wonderful choice, and her soloing is imaginative and propelling. Captien’s solo follows with his big acoustic bass effortlessly spinning out strong melodies. How a group handles standard repertoire always tells a lot about their understanding of the jazz tradition, and Mad Love obviously has studied the tradition extensively.
“Hey There, Rider” is an exciting cross-over selection. Ross Garlow joins the band on bass for this selection, which is a Hollingsworth original that explores a combination of country/Americana and jazz sounds. Hollingsworth’s vocal quality matches the style as she injects a little country accent into her singing while keeping her relaxed jazz phrasing. Dominic Castillo adds the right touch with a guitar solo that has chordal figures and single lines. This tune shows the versatility of Hollingsworth’s compositional style and singing influences and abilities. This versatility is what makes Ish exciting; one never knows what the next tune may bring.
Mad Love traverses a broad palette, with a mix of originals and expertly arranged, well-known tunes. Hollingsworth has many talents, all on display on ISH. From writing to arranging to singing and, most importantly, a valuable instrumentalist in the trio. ISH is a worthy listen throughout, and one I hope brings more attention to this talented artist.
Release Date: August 26, 2019
Label: Gladitude Records