About the album
There are scores of jazz singers on the scene today, many of them pretty good at what they do. Kathleen Willison is not one of these. She is an extraordinary musician who has as her instrument a beautiful voice with remarkable range and emotion. She is also an able songwriter and lyricist. This new album “Close to You” (Basho Records SRCD 8-2) demonstrates her remarkable talents in a set which holds the listener spellbound. The heady mix of luscious and imaginative playing from the UK’s most outstanding young pianist Gwilym Simcock and the soulful sax of world class tenorist Tim Whitehead combine with Kathleen to create an album which is completely fresh, full of feeling.
Kathleen Willison and Gwilym Simcock first met at the Royal Academy of Music whilst studying there on the Bmus undergraduate jazz course, and immediately struck up a rapport. The December following Kathleen’s graduation, renowned UK tenor saxophonist Tim Whitehead invited her to “sit-in” with him at the 606 Jazz Club. He was so impressed that for the first time in years he decided to ask a singer to work with him as a regular member of his quintet and sextet. Later, he heard Gwilym play and handpicked him to join his New Standards Quartet, quintet and sextet, TW6. The trio has been working together in different capacities for over 3 years.
Alyn Shipton, BBC Radio 2
they breathe together, they think together
Dave Gelly, The Observer
Kathleen Willison is an amazingly gifted young singer. At times, she puts me in mind of the young Norma Winstone. As if that were not enough, she can write songs that sound like songs
Peter Quinn, Jazzwise
a singer with a keen musical intelligence and an indisputable sense of personality