Ottawa Sun Review
Subtle Shades of Beauty -
Artist works through pain to produce music filled with joys of life and love
By Allan Wigney
Kim Kaskiw mischievously dedicates the version of Fats Waller's Ain't Misbehavin' that closes her CD Shades of Love to her "first love." And fittingly, she is joined on the jaunty rendition by that same love: Her tuba.
Yet, for all the playfulness found on Shades of Love - notably in upbeat renditions of standards such as You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To and Jobim's One Note Samba - she admits that the real Kim Kaskiw is to be found beneath the achingly beautiful, poignant shades of melancholy that drive her lone original contribution, Here and Now.
The song, inspired by a close friend who lost a battle with cancer at age 44, speaks to the fleeting joys of life and love, and pleads for more time even as it accepts the futility of such demands.
It's hardly the stuff of a party anthem. And its mood is confidently offset by the carefree scatting that dots several of the album's tracks. Yet, Here and Now evokes the essence of soul music, in a jazz context.
"This is me with my heart on my sleeve, which is kind of how I live my life," Kaskiw says of such tender moments.
"There are many times when I'd finish a recording session and curl up into a ball and cry my eyes out. It's been a hard few years for me in my personal life (she also lost her mother during this time), but this experience has been positive. As positive as grief can be."
That's positive of course as in cathartic. And with Kaskiw's emotive vocals backed by some of Canada's finest jazz musicians, Shades of Love is anything but a downer. Nor should one expect Friday's CD release show to be anything less than a celebration.
The pain passes, but the beauty remains.