ASCAP award-winning vocalist Kathy Kosins has won the hearts of critics and fans around the globe with her eclectic musical palette that expands the rich history of jazz.
Born and bred during the Motown era of Detroit, she began singing and arranging background vocals for producer Don Was in the early eighties, which led to her becoming one of the most sought after session singers. As a lead vocalist she recorded for both Carrere (Sony) and Quality Records and later toured with Was/Not Was.
In the early "90s, Kosins, a ferocious writer and arranger, fell in love with the freedom of the jazz art form and her writing naturally evolved into a more traditional approach. Stints with the JC Heard and Nelson Riddle Orchestras followed and led to a 1996 release of "All In A Dreams Work" (Schoolkids Records), an impressive debut featuring a first rate collection of nine originals and a cover of the Miles Davis composition" Four." Reported by over 250 Jazz stations, she reached the top 20 in the Gavin.
Her 2002 release of "Mood Swings" (Chiaroscuro Records) continued to bring her recognition and success at the national level. On her 2006 release of "Vintage," (Mahogany Jazz), she rediscovered little known songbook gems which she placed alongside a few widely known, yet unexpected tunes from outside the jazz tradition, which brought her glowing reviews from journalists.
Always a pioneer, Kosins decided to take a different approach in 2010 by releasing singles quarterly under the new Mahogany Digital label, rather than an entire CD every few years. The tradition of releasing singles runs deep in jazz music. Singles enable artists the freedom to create and record on a natural timeline that corresponds with fan demand and tour schedules. "If a live audience falls in love with a new song, I can record and release it to radio while the music is fresh and hot. This is something you can‟t do if you‟re committed in advance to a full album release," said Kosins.
A past recipient of the Michigan Council for the Arts (Jazz Composer of the Year), Kosins has received grants from Michigan‟s ArtServe advocacy group. Her clinics and workshops teach performance skills alongside business strategies for the independent artist and have been a success at colleges and universities across the USA.
When not touring the USA or Europe, Kathy excels as a painter. Her abstract acrylics on canvas are influenced by the cubist paintings of the "50s. Commissioned paintings are held in private collections and Kosins continues to sell her work at both gallery shows and concert performances.
Kosins has recorded with many well known jazz and R&B artists to include Aaron Goldberg, Reuben Rogers, Eric Harland, Peter Bernstein, Larry Koonse, Tamir Hendelman, Robert Hurst, Jeremy Pelt, Jon Ellis, Howard Levy, Don Was, Michael Henderson, Paul Keller and many others.
She has shared the stage and performed with numerous names in the jazz and R&B world. A few notables are: Cyrus Chestnut, Terell Stafford, Randy Brecker, Javon Jackson, Larry Goldings, James Moody, Kevin Mahogany, Bernard Purdie, Greg Hutchinson, Eric Harland, Red Holloway, Grant Green Jr., Reuben Rogers, Reuben Wilson, Aaron Goldberg, Tamir Hendelman, Jesse Davis, Eric Marienthal, Mitch Ryder, Was/Not Was and Michael Henderson.
Published: March 6, 2012
Singers June Christy, Chris Connor, Anita O'Day and Julie London were prominent in the 1940s and '50s. Christy, O'Day and Connor all spent time with Stan Kenton's band, while the sultry London became a pinup as well as a big record seller. Popular with both jazz and pop fans, these singers could regularly be heard on 78s and radio, singing the siren call for the emerging West Coast cool sound. With her fifth album, To the Ladies of Cool, singer Kathy Kosins does a terrific job honoring these four greats with her honey-coated voice.
Hailing from Detroit, Kosins has a long list of credentials as singer, composer and arranger. She grew up immersed in the city's jazz and R&B scenes and started out performing soul, rock, and funk, switching to jazz some 15 years ago, now combining gigs with a teaching career. Her style is sophisticated yet natural, torchy but breezy.
Kosins went to Los Angeles to record in the stomping grounds of her four honorees, selecting tunes from their repertoires. Among the titles, some are well-known, others she had never heard before. Overall, the session is a big success and much is owed to pianist Tamir Hendelman, who did the arrangements and contributes superb backup and solos. The rest of her band also deserves praise.
Obvious from the get-go, Kosins does her own thing. On "Learnin' the Blues," she abandons London's dreamy, sexy softness for a harder-edged bluesy defiance. With "All I Need is You," from Connor's songbook, Kosins again goes against the grain, distilling Connor's cool, compressed emotionality into a lightly swinging brew. O'Day's wordless vocalese on "Hershey's Kisses" gives way to Kosins' witty lyrics, giving voice to a lighthearted rhythmic romp where the singer joins the horns for some catchy harmony à la O'Day. Kosins pays homage to Christy, long associated with "Lullaby in Rhythm," on an up-tempo scat version, where Hendelman and guitarist Graham Dechter share solo space wonderfully, with saxophonist Steve Wilkerson solidly pushing the song to its finish. The CD ends exceptionally with Kosins' wistful bossa nova treatment of "Where Are You?"
Raise the glass and here's a toast. With To the Ladies of Cool, four standout vocal pioneers are deservedly celebrated.
Track Listing: Learnin'the Blues; Nightbird; Don't Wait Up For Me; All I Need Is You; Free and Easy; Hershey's Kisses; Lullaby In Rhythm; November Twilight; Kissing Bug; Where Are You?
Personnel: Kathy Kosins: vocals; Tamir Hendelman: piano: Graham Dechter: guitar; Gilbert Castellanos: trumpet (2, 3, 4, 9); Steve Wilkerson: reeds (4, 6); Kevin Axt: bass (1, 5, 7, 8, 10); Paul Keller: bass (2-4, 6, 9); Bob Leatherbarrow: vibraphone, drums.
Record Label: Resonance Records