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Kathleen Gorman, Alex Brown, George Koller
performing Rhapsody On Kol Nidre.
Photo Credit: Nico Jolliet


Rhapsody On Kol Nidre

We present two versions, Rhapsody On Kol Nidre V1 and V2, which were recorded two weeks apart, one which incorporates the flugelhorn as well as trumpet into the final free flowing, improvised section. I felt there were deeply moving moments in both versions, with variations due to the improvisational element, and the interaction between the instruments. There are variations in the length of the piece, but also in the solo sections, in phrasing and expression. This relates to the “ jazz “ idiom, in the spirit of the moment, of the unexpected, of the spiritual. As a trio, our goal was to honour and capture the spirit of the Kol Nidre, and hopefully there are elements of this in both versions. - Kathleen Gorman

Rhapsody On Kol Nidre: Version 1

Rhapsody On Kol Nidre: Version 2

Recorded at Number 9 Audio Group, a renowned recording studio in the heart of Toronto, with gifted audio engineer Bernie Cisternas. "Rhapsody On Kol Nidre' has been composed, arranged and produced by Kathleen Gorman, co-produced by George Koller.
Gorman’s compositions reflect the evolution of a pianist deeply immersed in the forms and performance of classical music, with the touch-sensitive music of jazz, revealing a singular virtuosity that accentuates a phrasing style pregnant with emotion. 

Reviewer Raul Da Gama: Whole Note Magazine



Towards the end of November, 2018, I went to the the Jazz Bistro - a popular jazz spot in Toronto - to hear pianist-composer Kathleen Gorman performing with her quintet. My daughter Hyla studies piano with Kathleen and we were invited to attend the performance. Little did I know that a new version of the Kol Nidre would be born that evening, as I listened to Kathleen’s creative jazz arrangements and her own compelling compositions.

I was almost immediately drawn in to her vivid sense of lyrical improvisation, mood, colour, and rhythm - expressive music that did much more than entertain and quicken the pulse. Kathleen’s music was transporting, with rich harmony and soulful resolutions, which may also have triggered the idea of a jazz version of the Kol Nidre in my brain that night! I heard the beautiful sound of the muted horn of Alex Brown, her trumpet player, which for me was reminiscent of the Ram’s horn that I had heard in the synagogue every Yom Kippur for most of my life. I was mesmerized by the sounds from the flugelhorn and world class improvisation!

Kathleen Gorman on Piano
Photo Credit: Nico Jolliet


I later contacted Kathleen, to discuss her being commissioned to write a jazz influenced version of the Kol Nidre. We agreed to meet at Nico’s studio, affectionately named ‘The Church of the Bon Vivant’ on Queen Street West in Toronto. (Nico Jolliet, the Project’s Artistic Director, composed and performed ‘Kol Nidre Goes East’ (Sitar) – the first version in the series – and most recently, ‘Kol Nidre Goes Into Outer Space’ (Theremin), and is also resident sound engineer and photographer.)


Kathleen chose for her composition for the Kol Nidre project, two of Canada’s most celebrated and gifted musicians, George Koller on bass, and Alex Brown on trumpet. I quickly learned that George Koller is an acclaimed virtuoso bass player who is comfortable in many musical genres, including jazz, folk and world music. He had worked with countless celebrated musicians, and has also produced many albums. Alex was also a perfect fit for the Gorman Kol Nidre. Born in Cuba, he was classically trained before embarking on his career as an acclaimed jazz musician and in demand trumpet player.

As the saying goes, the rest is history. Kathleen’s Kol Nidre would be written for piano (herself), bass (George Koller) and trumpet/flugelhorn (Alex Brown). I felt so fortunate that such accomplished musicians had agreed to participate in the project! 

Harold Levy, Producer, The Kol Nidre Project

George Koller on bass,
and Alex Brown on trumpet.
Photo Credit: Nico Jolliet


Kathleen herself was not just an innovative pianist and band leader, she was also a composer, arranger, vocalist and educator, and had formal education in classical music as well. She has a Piano Performer’s Diploma from the Royal Conservatory, as well as a degree from Concordia in jazz and composition, and advanced studies in composition and orchestration at McGill.


Her first commission at age twenty was for CTV, a closing theme for the Winter Olympics. In the last ten years she released two albums of jazz and original music which received worldwide airplay, and featured on CBC radio and Jazz FM 91.1. I had a chance to sit down with Kathleen and speak with her about her approach to composing Rhapsody On Kol Nidre.


You can listen to our chat below or follow this link for a transcript of our conversation

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